Saturday, February 16, 2013

Strangers Reunion's new blend

Ryan has come up with a great tasting espresso blend that really oozes flavour. it's buttery and smooth in a cappuccino without losing all of its flavour , having a nice lively acidity that's comforting and tasty at the same time. Go try it - he's put in months of research and the quality of the product shows.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Los Primos, Club Street

Los Primos, a Spanish joint, is a mid-level casual eatery owned by the owners of Cugini which is located just a stone throw's away, along the Pariseque Club Street. I do think that Los Primos is rather like Paris, it looks a bit like Montmartre with its hills and streets and shophouses and besides the type of shops that you see on Club Street would not look out of place in Montmartre. Just saying.

Anyway, the food was reviewed favourably by ieat quite a while ago and here's my roundup of it. Of course, going after a famous food blogger like ieat, there is always some inevitable comparison. Well and I guess I took the queues from him to decide what to order, and here's my take on it. As you can see, the decor's very casual and home-style, giving a very communal atmosphere.
We started off with a wonderful warm octopus with extra virgin olive oil. This was one of the highlights - very good. Warm octopus, very tender and succulent, and doused with the finest olive oil giving a seductive balance to the whole dish. I really liked it and kept nibbling at it. (8.5/10)


We had some Jambon Iberico and this was pretty good too - alot of umami flavours reminiscent of a good aged cheese. Briny but that's to be expected. Reasonably priced. (7.5/10)

The Paella was really good here - you taste alot of the seafood flavours which have soaked into the rice, mixed with the saffron of course. Just two small pieces of langoustine which wasn't much - since I really adore langoustine I could have done with more. The Paella could have been a little more burnt at the bottom (there wasn't much of a 'soccarat' so to speak). Overall competent: 8/10

I was quite disappointed with the grilled pork armpit - it was tough and not very flavourful, as it was meant to be. (5/10)

And lastly, the croquettes with bechamel sauce which was highly recommended by ieat was pretty good - a bite into the croquette, and bechamel sauce oozed out which coated the chicken nicely. Very creamy and comforting. (8/10). (and fatty).

Overall, the bill came up to about SGD50 a head. It was quite reasonably priced considering the amount we ate. Worth a visit if you're into Spanish food, although having said that, recently there's been so many Spanish food places which have popped up over the island - Catalunya, Binomio, Bomba, etc. Add Los Primos to the list.

Bee Kia Seafood Restaurant

CNY was a bit of a bother as I was nursing the darned flu. However, I managed to have lunch with old friend E at this zhichar called Bee Kia, located at Balestier Hills opposite Thomson medical. I had the beef horfun which was seriously good - smooth slippery horfun, loads of wok hei, savoury black bean laced sauce, and beef that wasn't overly tenderized. Good stuff and no wonder they were almost full even at lunch (unusual for a zhichar place). 8/10

Thursday, February 7, 2013

The Sushi Bar @ Far East Plaza

Here's a little secret - this little hole-in-the-wall on the 3rd floor of Far East Plaza sells the most amazing sushi / chirashi, at very affordable prices. The chirashi I had was nothing short of superb, with very very fresh pieces of fish, and quite alot of it too. For SGD18++ you get 4 pieces of salmon, tuna, some aburi salmon belly and tuna, fresh pieces of yellowtail, delicious tamago, 1 scallop, and so on. Superb value, and delicious tasting.


Monday, February 4, 2013

Ember Revisited

 It's been a while since I visited Ember, the last time I went there was during my birthday last year. Ember recently celebrated its 10th anniversary - which shows the longevity of the restaurant and its continued popularity in the midst of the ever-fickly restaurant scene in Singapore, where the average "shelf-life" of most new restaurants is a year, max.

The 4-course set dinner at SGD85 per person is always good value since you get a good selection of the restaurant's specialties, which include the pan-seared Chilean seabass and the Pan-roasted foie gras with fried maitake, porcini sauce and 1-hour poached egg.

I started off having the fresh Hokkaido scallop carpaccio with ponzu and sesame vinaigrette. This was quite refreshing - as you would expect, it's tart, light, and allows the sweetness of the scallops to shine through. A good appetizer. (7/10)

Next up, for the 2nd appetizer, I couldn't resist having another stab at the pan-roasted Foie Gras with 1 hour poached egg, hence I ordered it. There was a nice liver taste, in fact a rather strong liver taste. Although it was pan-fried, there was, sadly, not alot of charred flavour - would have preferred a stronger "charring" of the liver (guess I was spoilt by the renditions at 11 Madison Park and Novus). Still it was good, although not superlative this time (I gave it 9/10 the last time but this time it's reduced to 8.25/10).

For my mains, I didn't want to have the usual pan-seared Chilean seabass because everyone else was having that, hence I opted for the spiced crusted Welsh lamb rack. There was a strong hint of cumin on the lamb which was interesting (although not entirely novel) - giving it a Medittereanean twist. That said, however, I don't really like cumin on my lamb but that's just personal preference. The lamb was fatty enough, however, much to my delight (and to the sadness of my cholesterol levels and already bulging waistline). (7.5/10)

I opted for the cheese platter for dessert - it wasn't bad, a piece of Camembert? one blue cheese, and another soft cheese. Wonder what it was, actually, since they didn't say.
I had a pleasant time talking with the chef Sebastian afterwards, asking him a few things about his inspiration, how he finds produce, the challenges of a restaurant, what were the meals he really enjoyed and where he likes to eat, and so on. He told us about his experience working under Gordon Ramsay, and in the different kitchens in Japan etc. It was a pleasure chatting with him and his wife who runs the floor. Overall Ember's a great restaurant, and recommendations are definitely required on weekends. The set lunch at SGD55 is a steal as well, very popular.