Tuesday, May 27, 2014

The Black Swan, Singapore

The Black Swan, located at Cecil Street and operated by the Lo and Behold group, has been around for quite a long time now, and I've only been there once previously for their drinks, which I wasn't very impressed with as they were far too diluted for my liking (I'm used to drinks from 28HK and Jigger where they come really strong). So admittedly, it hadn't been on my radar to visit The Black Swan for dinner, even though the ambience is really lovely. But when YT decided to pay them a visit because her relative was/is working there, I decided - why not! So off we went.

The decor / ambience is still as classy as I remember it to be; an old-style cavern replete with high ceilings, dark panelling, art-deco style, and lots of pizzazz. It's actually done up very tastefully, and I really enjoy the ambience. Great for people watching too, I hear. While waiting, we popped a Gin and Tonic which was pretty enjoyable - made from a "flower" gin recommended by YT. The name eludes me really.

We shared a platter of oysters to start: Katana Bay and Wellfleets. The Katana Bay oysters were great, very briny and crisp and actually very delicious (I actually liked the brine) (8/10) and the Wellfleets which were a bit more creamy, less briny, and slightly sweet and mineralish (8/10). You can't go wrong with oysters so long as they are fresh and kept in a proper condition.

For my mains, I had The Black Swan's signature Burger, which came with fries, and topped with cheese and a sunny side-up egg and served with some rashers of bacon on the side. This was not bad at all; what did it for me was the bun, which was toasted till it was really delicious. Slightly crusty, with a slight toasted flavour. The beef was good too; the use of onions helped quite a bit. Perhaps not as intense as I would have liked but then again I was suffering from the flu, so it wasn't a fair assessment. Still a very good burger: 8/10.

What really killed the day for me was the dessert of Sticky Date Toffee Pudding. Now, that was some awesome stuff. There was a lovely flavour of toffee, dates, and molasses - and a slight hint of dark rum; just the right amount of sweetness in the caramel sauce which was just sticky enough to coat the pudding sufficiently; and a slightly toasted, burnt flavour in the pudding which was delicious. This was what distinguishes this pudding from the plethora of other good options (PS Cafe; Marmalade Pantry) - that burnt taste which went so well with the banana and the molasses and toffee. Then you have the texture - which was again very nice - chewy and firmer on the edges just like a good 'crust'. I would come here just for the sticky date toffee pudding alone really. A firm (9.25/10)

Overall, The Black Swan has impressed with the food. I will come back for the others. A lovely effort, especially the exceptional Sticky Date.


Sunday, May 18, 2014

Chikuwa Tei Revisited

Chikuwa Tei (Mohammad Sultan Road) has since changed management, and in fact someone I know is one of the partners of the restaurant at this juncture. Being a food critic, the fact that my friend owns the place doesn't make me lower my standards - conversely, I am even more stringent in my appraisal of the restaurant since I know that my comments may be used to improve the food standards of the restaurant and therefore has a direct impact.

The first few times when I visited the place (after the change in management), I found the fish slightly sub-par, perhaps because the fish was cut too thickly making it rather hard to chew, as it would simply squish in my mouth and it was impossible to savour the flavours of the fish.

The reason he gave actually is that many people visit chikuwa tei expecting very thick cuts of fish and therefore once the fish isn't cut so thickly, people complain to the management insinuating that chikuwa tei has "cheated" them of fish.

(That's rather short sighted, since I could cut you very thick slices of fish but give you less pieces of fish right)

This time I went, though, I specifically requested that the fish be sliced more thinly, and hey presto - it is so much better! The chirashi bowl I had was excellent: the salmon firm and fresh, the swordfish, tuna and yellowtail all tasty and full of fish oils and certainly fresh. I think a lot of it has to do with the relatively-thinner slicing such that the tongue has the opportunity to savour all the flavours of the fish. I would give this chirashi don a (8/10).

For all you future visitors of Chikuwa Tei who intend to eat their chirashi don - try their thin sliced version!

Anyway, Chikuwa Tei is still a very dependable place to go to for good value chirashi and other dishes. 

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Soon Li Yong Tau Foo (Henderson)

My apologies for the lack of updates; food-blogging is an interesting hobby because - while we enjoy eating and scouring the island for new food, the effort it takes to write an article is something else altogether. That's why it isn't like - we blog about the place instantaneously after we've eaten at the same, since we get lazy. Well, I'm just speaking for myself...

Here's a really good yong tau foo that's incredibly popular, known as the midnight yong tau foo @ henderson. As the name suggests, they start selling food at 1045, through the night. Well, I picked alot of stuff - almost $10 worth - including stuff that you seldom find at yong tau foo stalls such as pig's intestines, pigs' stomach, and all the lovely innards. Well, everything was pretty good; the pig's intestines were very tender and ditto for the pig's stomach, and everything had a very fresh taste and was cooked just right. I wish the soup could have been more robust or sweeter from the use of yellow beans - in this regard, I'm partial to the two stalls at Tanjong Pagar market or the one at Clementi since they seem to have more kick in the soup. I think this is a 7.75/10

The waiting time was pretty long though: we waited about 30 min for our food. Worth it? Hmm, if I don't have to queue that long I'll surely come back but at 30 min, maybe not.

Till next time!

PS: I'm heading to hong kong soon - please let me know if you have any recommendations, they'd be much appreciated :)