Saturday, March 28, 2015

Tiong Bahru Galicier Pastry

I have heard so many things about this place, and so when I visited Foodie Marketplace to pick up some meats, I figured that it was time I visited to see what the fuss was about. Tiong Bahru Galicier Pastry is a traditional cake shop selling nonya kuehs, and all of them were made in-house, and so out of curiosity I picked out the Kueh Dadar and the Kueh Salat - and I was really pleasantly surprised about how good they were. The kueh dadar (coconut stuffed in pandan) was exceptionally light and very fragrant, and none too sweet; the kueh salat was delicious as well, fragrant glutunous rice and delicious pandan custard. And later on, a fresh batch of tapioca cake came out and I had some of those as well; wow, they were superb. Delicious texture and not too sweet, very fragrant. I hope this place keeps going! (8.5/10)

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Tamashii Robataya

Met L for lunch today and I suggested Tamashii because I've heard great things from it, and it didn't disappoint. In fact, it was quite a wonderful lunch, albeit pretty expensive. The entire beef yakiniku set was SGD35++ and it came with miso soup, salmon sashimi, and salad, and beef. But what great beef it was! Excellent! It was done to a perfect medium rare and then sliced, and it was so flavourful - the beef, of really good quality and marbled well. The teriyaki seasoning was spot on as well. I'd come back in an instant, if only it wasn't so expensive. Really good beef and probably aged. (8.5/10 for the beef)

The salmon sashimi wasn't anything to shout about though. Ha! 

Monday, March 23, 2015

Windowsill Pie's Passionfruit Yoghurt Tart

I am in love with this tart from Windowsill Pies - the Passionfruit Yoghurt Tart is soo good. It's light and creamy, and yet zesty, with the passionfruit and yoghurt combining very well. The base is light and crisp and buttery; while there are some white chocolate granola bits on the top which add a different dimension. Great dessert, exceeding expectations. (8.5/10)

If there's one thing I'd change, I would love the base to be slightly thicker, but that's just personal preference. This tart works very well indeed! highly recommended. 

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Meat Smiths, SG

Over in February, I visited LP's Quality Meats in Sydney (read the review here) and was amazed by the smoked meats at that restaurant, all of which came out of a state-of-the-art smoker/oven where the meats were smoked for hours at end to lend a smoky and charred flavour to the meats while keeping them juicy.

I was thinking that such a concept could take off in Singapore, when Loh Lik Peng comes up with Meat Smiths SG, a restaurant at 127 Telok Ayer Street that focuses on smoked meats, and more meats. 

The place itself also reminds me of LP's Quality Meats! It's a big space, with communal tables and benches, with a distinct wood feel about it.

Amidst the cavernous space, was a menu that was geared solely towards meats in all shapes and forms. Vegetarians and pescetarians's nightmare, probably.

We started off with some chicken livers. They were creamy and quite tasty, albeit a bit heavy - the one at LP's Quality Meats was far lighter which worked. A tad lighter and it would make alot of difference. It was served with some bread; it would have been a nice touch if there was some homemade rye to go with it. 

We also ordered some som-tam coleslaw, which was just ... alright. 

The stars of the show were served to us thereafter: there was a special of beef belly and 100g of meat was accompanied by sides of jalapeno peppers to cut through the richness. This wasn't bad, pretty flavourful and tender, although I felt the taste was slightly muted when compared side to side with the brisket. (7/10)

As mentioned, the brisket fared better. Smoked for a long period, the brisket was really flavourful and yet it was tender, with some bite to it. (8.25/10)

I was fairly impressed with the Wagyu Short Ribs, which was slightly salty (some might say overly so) but was incredibly tasty, full of robust flavour, and yet very tender such that it cuts through the fork easily. Good stuff. The method of cooking had coaxed out the deep beefy flavours of the rib. (8.25/10)

Perhaps the only letdown was the half chicken was I felt was slightly dry. The chicken was slightly too big, perhaps, such that the spice marinades and other marinades could not permeate through to the centre of the chicken. LP's Quality Meats does an incredible rendition and I'm curious to see how they managed to keep the chicken moist in the centre and yet incredibly juicy and tasty, even the breast meat. Here the chicken was just so, warranting a 6.25/10. 
Room for improvement on the chicken, but overall a very satisfying meal. We had far too much meat and I'm still feeling the after effects a day after. Great cocktails made in house as well, especially some aged cocktails.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Garibaldi, Restaurant Week

Restaurant week's here again - and there are - boy - so many options! I was quite intrigued by Garibaldi's menu lineup so I picked it for a Saturday night dinner - to try out what the Italian restaurant has to offer. Truth be told, even though it's a stalwart of Italian cuisine, I have never tried Garibaldi, perhaps because I don't like Italian food that much.

But anyway, I was pleasantly surprised. Usually at restaurant week, the quality of the food is often down a few notches, but here everything was superb. We started off with an entree of a tuna tartare with burrata cheese, ikura, avocado and fried river prawns. Everything was superb - the creaminess and slight tanginess of the burrata married well with the accents from the ikura and combined with the slight meaty flavours of the tuna, with the river prawns adding some crunch at the top. The ingredients seemed quite disparate but together it was a good pairing. A good starter: 8/10

I was really happy with the main, which was a Tuscan Seafood Stew. Absolutely delicious. The stew had a robust seafood flavour, almost bisque-like (with the heads probably being fried to extract the essence); the essence of the sea personified, with a slight tomato flavour and the hint of spice to give some heat. The herbs were balanced and in harmony: some thyme. What was great were the sprigs of thyme that was stuffed into the heads. Sucking on these heads were incredible - so oishii. The clams, scallops - were all lovely. Loved this dish. 8.5/10

Dessert was a chocolate tart with hazelnut ice cream. I loved the chocolate tart - you could tell that they are using good quality chocolate. Delicious. 8/10

Overall, Garibaldi's restaurant week menu impressed me, and it makes me consider this place if I ever had a craving for fine-dining Italian, although I suspect it wouldn't be soon since I love French food far more. 

Highly recommended.

Friday, March 13, 2015

NUDE Seafood

I was going to meet my friend M at MBFC for lunch, and hence I readily finally got the chance to eat at NUDE Seafood, which has been reviewed very highly by many food bloggers. I couldn't decide between the Hickory Smoked Salmon or the Miso-Grilled Chilean Seabass, so I ordered the Signature Combo which featured both the Smoked Salmon AND the Chilean Seabass - to kill two birds with one stone. 

The salmon was delicious: the flavours of the hickory really permeated through and the salmon was fresh and tasty, albeit slightly past how I usually like my salmon (pink in the middle still, just past rare). The Chilean Seabass was good as well - chunky and juicy with a cod like texture although the piece was rather small. 

Everything was served with some forgotten grains. Yummy. (8.25/10)

I would come back if MBFC were nearer my office. 

Had a piccolo from Common Man Coffee Roasters which was quite delicious as well. 

The space is bright and cheery, with many a lunchtime crowd coming in to order take-aways and the like, or sitting down for a "nice" meal on a Friday with some wine and beer (starting Friday nights early). Highly recommended place

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Chiew Kee Eating House, Cross Street

Did you know that there are two famous soya sauce chicken eating houses located at Cross Street? Yuppers, they are "Chew Kee" (which is located nearer to North Bridge Road along Cross Street) and "Chiew Kee" (which is located near the midpoint between North Bridge Road and New Bridge Road along Cross Street). Apparently they are siblings but fell out. Well, I guess there's always some sort of drama when it comes to siblings and food.

I read that Chiew Kee has better flavoured chicken than Chew Kee, and hence I decided to try this outlet first. Two of us ordered half a soy chicken, and some noodles/horfun to accompany the dish. The chicken really had a very homemade old school taste - very tasty chicken indeed. The noodles were alright, springy and eggy and a good foil to the soya chicken. (7.75/10) Cheap and good. 

Friday, March 6, 2015

Cantonese Delights, Hong Lim

I was around the Hong Lim area, and so I dropped by to try out Cantonese Delights and particularly its chicken chop curry noodle which is quite a unique dish. It features HK-style noodles slathered with a tasty and fragrant curry and topped with some deep fried crispy chicken chop chunks. Everything was very tasty and especially the fried chicken which was well marinated and tasted really fresh. Excellent stuff and a pleasure to eat. There was a queue on Saturday afternoon and I can see why. (8/10)

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Sumiya, Orchard Central

So apparently, Sumiya has revamped itself as a seafood place instead of one specialising in meats. Located at the 12th floor of Orchard Central, Sumiya now sits in the space that Kuriya Penthouse once occupied. The ambience was pretty laid back and chill, featuring high ceilings and a haphazard style that brought some edge to the party. 

And how was the food? Well, they were having a bluefin tuna promotion today, and so we had the chance to grab some of the odd cuts that they were promoting. Apparently they have links to a fish farm in Japan which rears bluefin tuna, and the tuna is shipped whole to the restaurant, so we were able to enjoy some of the rare parts of the tuna including the meat from the tuna head, the "dark" meat near the bone, and so on. 

We ordered the "mixed chunks" tuna sashimi, which came with akami, otoro, and chutoro. It was a heady combination, and some of the stuff was just ultra-delicious, especially the akami. For bluefin tuna (hon maguro) I'm a big fan of the akami, as that's where the flavours lie, in that blood red deep, robust and full-bodied "blood" tuna taste. This one was good, pretty deep flavours indeed. The chutoro and otoro were good as well. We later found out that it was farmed tuna but we honestly couldn't tell. 8/10.

We also ordered some grilled yellowtail collar - these were done competently and served with the customary radish and lemon; albeit I found the meat slightly tough in parts. 7/10

We ordered some "crazy" chicken meat, nicely grilled with enough scallions to cut through the richness of the chicken. Nothing too fanciful here, just solid grub. 7/10

Aburi tuna skin was served with a ponzu dressing. It was certainly very refreshing, and full of collagen. Interesting contrast between the tart ponzu and the smoky aburi flavours of the tuna skin. 7.25/10

We ordered some blood-tuna meat simmered in its own blood and served with ginger. I kid you not, this tasted like pork with ginger, a homely dish that most Chinese families would serve with rice. If you blindfolded me, I'd have guessed pork. Interesting! 7/10

We ordered two helpings of the tuna head meat sashimi, which was lightly torched. These were just plain delicious, with a luscious mouthfeel and juicy fish oils and a robust tuna flavour, rich and deep. Thoroughly enjoyed this one. 8.25/10

One of the specialties here was the double-steamed rice in bamboo with eel and ikura. These were simply delicious. The rice was double-steamed in a bamboo pot, and was extremely soft and flavourful having a subtle sweetness about it, having absorbed all the flavours of the eel and ikura. It was such an enjoyable experience tasting the rice and enjoying bits of ikura saltiness bursting out and combining with the fragrant rice. The eel, while being very tasty, was almost unnecessary, that's how good the rice was. A dish I'd certainly come back again for. 8.25/10

Monday, March 2, 2015

Nobu-Ya, Fortune Centre

After so long, I finally managed to try Nobu-Ya (Middle Road), a little hole in the wall in Fortune Centre (Middle Road) that's reminiscent of the many izakayas in Tokyo or indeed in other parts of Japan. It is reputed to offer some of the best izakaya fare on this little island, and so I did not hesitate to suggest it when a few friends needed a place to chill and hang out.

Ambience wise, there's nothing much to boast about: it's just humble chairs and tables (stools, more like). But I guess that's not the draw here. There's a huge sake list of many reputable brands - and even a Japanese sake sommelier - so just ask him and he will be happy to recommend something.

Sapporo is on draft, and it tastes pretty good; much better than many a Sapporo I have had elsewhere. We started with chicken kara-age; crispy and fried on the outside. Not bad though probably not the best I've eaten due to their preference for using breast meat. 7/10

What I really loved, however, was the buri sashimi. Buri is the yellowtail when it has grown to a large size - more than 5kg and I first had the chance to try it at Sushi Tokami when it was soooo delicious. Here, it was just as good; super oishii, very tasty; lovely fish oil flavour. Yummy - I wanted to order more of these. The fish flavours were just so clean and yummy. 8.5/10

We also ordered the buri cheeks - which was done shio style. These were pretty good as well: crispy and with clean fish flavour. 

Next up: vinegared Tako (octopus) - pretty yummy. It was very refreshing, and it tasted really good. The tako itself was slightly chewy but not hard at all. Good stuff. 7/10
I really enjoyed the braised beef tendon; it was braised in a delicious sauce which I was only too happy to slurp up. The beef itself was of course flavourful. 8/10

One of the highlights of the meal was ankimo (monkfish liver) just steamed. The flavour of the ankimo was just awesome; think foie gras but lighter, with the flavour of the oceans - of intense fish. Very distinctive flavour and something I really enjoyed. I shall have to hunt for more of these. 8.5/10

We then had some other braised beef - these were good, it flaked well but we were all in agreement that the tendon edged this. 7/10

Some fish tempura was ordered: quite delicious, fresh, well prepared.

A cod hot-pot followed. A comforting dish certainly, especially with the copious amounts of sake we were drinking; the fish was fresh and the broth comforting.

The Matsuki beef was great. Even though this was a small portion, rest assured that the flavour packs a wallop - almost like liver in terms of taste. A very raw, wild, kind of flavour which I really enjoy in beef. (8/10)

Lastly, shio snapper. An ugly sight but the fish was perfectly grilled; just tender, just past the point of being "cooked", and not at all tough. Perfect grilling. 8/10
Overall, Nobu-Ya has shot up to one of my top izakaya joints in Singapore, and is certainly worth a visit for its relatively wallet-friendly pricing, extensive sake list, and delicious Japanese izakaya fare. And with the constantly rotating seasonal menu, you wouldn't be bored.

Two thumbs up!