Fabulous Omakase Lunch @ GOTO on 1Oct2014

sakizuki - a selection of small appetizers

sakizuki – a selection of small appetizers

GOTO is closing for renovations on 26.10.2014 & reopening on 11.11.2014.

i had wanted to go GOTO all these while but somehow did not get to do. a friend suggested recently & 5 of us decided to go for the  S$68pax omakase lunch on 1.10.2014. there was no GST so it was just S$75nett! :-)

GOTO at 14 ang siang road is currently a kaiseki only restaurant. lunch is 6-course at S$68pax & dinner S$180pax & S$280pax. the chef owner GOTO HISAO, was previously the personal chef to the japanese ambassador to singapore.  after the renovation it will be remodelled to a casual restaurants. according to the server lunch sets would be like S$40 onwards.

we were wondering about the economics of a straight kaiseki restaurant where the dishes & ingredients were limited,  vs a normal restaurant with an extensive menu, dishes & ingredients. we were of course out of our depths, no expert in f&b, but perhaps the main objective was to increase traffic & customers. kaiseki restaurant would have a limited number of patrons. a casual restaurant would attract a larger customer base & the sitting could be doubled from the current 20?

seems the restaurant name would be changed as well to G-One. couldn’t figure out G-One, but we were kidding the place change from GOTO to GONE? is that good? :-)

who cares as long as food is good right? & it was, quite excellent! :-)

sakizuki - a selection of small appetizers

sakizuki – a selection of small appetizers

ikura on enoki mushrooms

ikura on enoki mushrooms

we had the first course sakizuki – a selection of small appetizers. it had a delicious pickled sanma (秋刀鱼), a equally delicious tofu, pickled ika (squid), some vege, and ikura on enoki in small bowl. really good! we were saying if every dish could be like this.  they were, quite! maybe minus the rice. :-)

sashimi moriawase = maguro, hirame, hamachi, hotate, anago

sashimi moriawase = maguro, hirame, hamachi, hotate, anago

the sashimi moriawase = maguro, hirame, hamachi, hotate, anago was just incredible! they told us its maguro, but it was so sweet its like akamai (lean toro). hotate was just 1/2 a piece but very sweet. same for hirame (flat fish) & hamachi (yellow tail). the anago (conger eel) was an expensive item too but actually that was my least preferred among the quality sashimi.

tempura moriawase

tempura moriawase

the tempura moriawase was served differently w/o the dip & radish & wasabi. there was a lemon & a dish with what looked like green tea powder but actually salt. the server missed out explanation at our table for this dish, so we were guessing the lemon should go on the salt (lemon juice with salt is a very good dip for yakiniku), anyway a few of us including myself was too quick & just squeezed the lemon on the tempura. there was shisamo (pregnant fish), asparagus, 2 like fish cakes etc. very good dish. :-)

a simmered kamo (duck) dish

a simmered kamo (duck) dish

we have a simmered duck dish. i liked it very much. 1 friend felt the duck had too gamey taste. the rest didn’t. a few thought the duck was tough. 1 said the sauce a bit sweet (japanese like to add sugar to their dishes).

for me though it was quite perfect – duck, yam etc. :-)

gohan (rice) set

chicken & mushroom gohan (rice) set

a friend said that the mushroom smell was really good. & indeed it was. however i & a few of us did not think this good was great. it did not really had the wok hae of a good chinese fried rice, nor the flavours of a good japanese unagi chahan (fried rice) like say in zen or its sister restaurant en japanese dining. nor is it flavourful c/w the very nice kamameshi at sun with moon.

of course we were just picking bones. haha! :-)

dessert - mochi, fruits, black sesame ice cream

dessert – mochi, fruits, black sesame ice cream

dessert was good too. kochi i liked, good quality fruits & a great black sesame ice cream.

i think this a very good lunch for S$75. i consider this perhaps more refine & better than the S$68 omakse lunch at hachi & about same as (or sometimes better than depending on menu) the S$68 monthly lunch special at kuriya dining. anyway i have booked to go back next week. :-)

c.h.e.f andy

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Spicy Sichuan Poached Chicken 口水鸡

口水鸡 sichuan spicy poached chicken

口水鸡 sichuan spicy poached chicken

decided to try 口水鸡, the sichuan spicy poached chicken. :-)

we had 口水鸡 many times at crystal jade lamian xianglongbao. :-)

poached kampong chicken

poached kampong chicken

i can do a very good poached chicken, so like many dishes, getting the spicy sauce right is the key.

口水鸡 sichuan spicy poached chicken

口水鸡 sichuan spicy poached chicken

口水鸡 sichuan spicy poached chicken

口水鸡 sichuan spicy poached chicken

口水鸡 sichuan spicy poached chicken

口水鸡 sichuan spicy poached chicken

saliva chicken (口水鸡)

crystal jade version of saliva chicken (口水鸡)

i decided to use a modified 蒜泥白肉 sauce recipe, as it was a dish i served several times & everyone liked. :-)

i did without all the additional stuff like cinnamon bark, clove, anise seeds, cumin, and just added chicken stock, sliced ginger, chopped shallots, chopped garlic, brown sugar & sichuan spicy chilli oil, looks something like this-

  • 1 cup stock (chicken stock or from the pork)
  • 2 tbsp light soy sauce (80ml)
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 cm sliced ginger
  • 2 tsp chopped garlic
  • 2 chopped shallots
  • 2 tbsp sichuan spicy chilli oil

the sauce was delicious, mildly sweet & delivering the spicy punch.

comparing with crystal jade version (above photo), it looked just as potent but actually not as 麻辣 as crystal jade version which is itself not very 麻辣. guess i missed the toasted sesame part (i did have coriander for garnishing though not in the photos).

though some like me will take it even spicier, the current preparation is easier on the palate for most. & many friends had enjoyed the 蒜泥白肉 in no small part because of the sauce. :-)

c.h.e.f andy

 

OK Lunch @ Paradise Dynasty on 29Sep2014

crystal pork (镇江淆肉)

crystal pork (镇江淆肉)

a friend bought lunch at paradise dynasty at level 4 ion orchard today on 29.9.2014. :-)

they do not take reservations so we arranged to go early at 11.45am to avoid, traffic, carpark issues & avoid queue.

spicy dumplings (抄手)

spicy dumplings (抄手)

we had 2 appetisers.

crystal pork (镇江淆肉) was competent, nothing special.

spicy dumplings (抄手) was good, guess no better than crystal jade lamian xiaolongbao.

belly pork ramen

belly pork lamian

the belly pork lamian was good! the soup was very tasty & smooth, the braised belly pork was excellent & the egg, noodles etc were all good. this was as good as a good japanese chashumen. :-)

poached sliced beef

poached sliced beef

we tried a poached sliced beef. it was pretty good, the usual tenderised beef. :-)

paradise dynasty level 4 ion orchard

paradise dynasty level 4 ion orchard

ambience was good & there was a good lunch crowd though not full & there was no queue when we left about 130pm.

pumpkin dessert

pumpkin dessert

my friend ordered a pumpkin dessert. it was non-descript. i guess a “healthy” dessert.

there was a discount on some menu items under PGR (paradise gourmet rewards) + 30% rebates on non-discounted items. i think lunch came to about $50nett & there was a S$4.50 rebate. ok & doable lunch though nothing special. :-)

c.h.e.f andy

 

King Prawn Noodles (黄焖大虾面) (Part 2)

king prawn noodles (黄焖大虾面)

king prawn noodles (黄焖大虾面)

did an almost perfect king prawn noodles (黄焖大虾面) today on 28.9.2014, on the third try (top photo). :-)

tunglok lobster ramen - 龙虾焖拉面

tunglok lobster ramen – 龙虾焖拉面

wife actually said it was better than tunglok’s lobster ramen – 龙虾焖拉面 (above photo).  & the dry wok king prawns better than lobster. i think so also – almost there. sauce was very tasty with no sugar added.

i was very impressed with tunglok’s lobster ramen – 龙虾焖拉面 actually…the 黄焖 golden bisque was always very tasty, smooth & flavourful. it was very similar to & tasty like a good crab roe sharkskin soup. lobster was very good too. for purpose of recreating a dish, lobster is lobster, steamed, grilled or pan-grilled it is not hard to reproduce, so mainly it’s about how to recreate the 黄焖 slight starchy golden bisque.

i tested with egg yoke, mirin, sake, sugar, chicken stock, cornflour, fish sauce. :-)

braised prawn noodles (黄焖虾面)

braised prawn noodles (黄焖虾面)

braised prawn noodles (黄焖虾面)

braised prawn noodles (黄焖虾面)

my first attempt used small grass prawns & vegetable stock (above 2 photos), whatever was readily available. i had slightly too much starch. i added fish sauce as i thought light soy sauce & oyster sauce might darken the golden colour of sauce.  anyway the sauce was tasty & my daughter liked it, but i could taste the starch – a negative point.

king prawn noodles (黄焖大虾面)

king prawn noodles (黄焖大虾面)

king prawn noodles (黄焖大虾面)

king prawn noodles (黄焖大虾面)

last evening i used the king prawns my wife bought from chinatown. these were very large prawns – 7 prawns/kg so like 140g per prawn. i fried cut chilli padi, ginger strips, & garlic in butter on high heat & added the king prawns & did the dry wok prawn method. it turned out beautifully, with perfect char-grilled flavours & texture. it is true that sometimes giant prawns taste even better than lobster. & they cost a lot less when comparing meat to shell ratio.

i did not have stock so i added sugar & more mirin. also i reduced the flour & added 2 egg yokes. the sauce was still ok tasty. my wife felt that the sweetness was artificial, which i agreed too. also 2 egg yokes did not work well as they separated from the mixture during cooking & did not blend fully. :-(

king prawn noodles (黄焖大虾面)

king prawn noodles (黄焖大虾面)

for lunch today, i had chicken stock, added 1 egg yoke & added light soy sauce & oyster sauce, & yuzu salad sauce & could still produce the golden sauce, this time a really, really tasty bisque. excellent! prawns were perfect as before. :-)

it was important to record the recipe, as there was a bit of experimentation & varying amount of condiments used. that was the reason i blog anyway, as often i have to refer to my own recipes. :-)

c.h.e.f andy

Ingredients:

  • 600g king prawns (i had 4 large prawns 560g, but 300g small grass prawns should do also)
  • 500ml chicken stock
  • 1 egg yoke
  • 2 tbsp cooking sake
  • 2 tbsp mirin
  • 1 tsp fish sauce (& add sea salt if required to taste)
  • 1 tsp oyster sauce
  • 1 tsp yuzu salad sauce
  • 1.5tsp cornflour
  • 1 chopped chilli padi
  • 1.5cm ginger (julienned)
  • 2 tsp chopped garlic

Directions:

  1. cooke prawn –  season de-veined prawns (keep in shell) with fish sauce & white pepper.  fry cut chilli padi, ginger strips, & garlic in butter on high heat. add king prawns & chargrilled using the dry wok prawn method to get perfect char-grilled flavours & texture. set aside the cooked prawns.
  2. make sauce – add 1 egg yoke, mirin, sake, chicken stock, fish sauce, oyster sauce, cornflour in a mixing bowl & mix thoroughly. fry cut chilli padi, ginger strips, & garlic in olive oil. add the mixture on low fire to boiling. taste the bisque & add salt to taste.
  3. cooke noodles – cook noodles (i used white jade 白玉 noodles which had a bit of ramen texture)to just below al dente & pour into a sieve or colander & add ice & cold water to stop the cooking.
  4. now put together the dish!

S$4 Meepok Tar @ 6th Ave Jalan Tua Kong on 27Sep2014

6th ave jln tua kong meepok tar

6th ave jln tua kong meepok tar

went with wife to 6th avenue jalan tua kong to eat meepok tar.

the stall was back after renovation of good good coffeeshop some months back. to me, it was as good as before, nothing changed. i had it in july and enjoyed as much.

6th ave jln tua kong meepok tar

6th ave jln tua kong meepok tar

now, got high tech, so we have a light buzzle when noodles were ready. not bad!

6th ave jln tua kong meepok tar

6th ave jln tua kong meepok tar

to me, there are 2 things special about this style of meepok tar. 1 is the very spicy chilli, really shiok! the other is the sliced pork & prawn. here everything is done quite perfectly – noodle was qq, chilli potent, fish balls bouncy & lots of minced pork (in the very tasty soup too) & also a few pieces of lar pok (crispy lard)…..just compared that with the medicare amigo bakchormee we had at changi village food centre,

c.h.e.f andy

Mediocre S$15.90 Set Lunch @ Amirah’s Grill on 26Sep2014

hibiscus drink

hibiscus drink

a RI friend organised a 6pax lunch at amirah’s grill at bussorah street on 26.9.2014. :-)

parking was horrendous at 1pm on a friday. :-( after turning a few rounds, and finding no space at the roadside parking & the 3 open carparks and lots of traffic on the small roads, i got over to park at sultan plaza. anyway it was just a short walk. i was 10minutes late as in my whatsapp message. my 5 friends were already at the table. this happened a bit more often lately, i must not make this a habit, parking or traffic aside. :-)

the recent reviews  (2014) on tripadvisor of this place were quite bad. the reviews on openrice & hungrygowhere were equally bad but more dated (2013).

i checked the website & they had this S$15.90 lunch set so i called & confirmed the lunch sets were still available & that it was 2-course + drink.  you need to ask for the set lunch menu though. we were not given until we asked specifically.

for the drinks, 2 friends had coffee, 2 including me had the hibiscus drink. it tasted like a rose syrup with nice mint, sweet but not overly, it was quite ok for me. 2 other friends probably had tea. i couldn’t quite recall.

chicken soup

chicken soup

the soup of the day was a chicken soup. it was better than a canned soup – i guess very few served canned soup these days. basically a minestrone with chicken stock, mediocre but a pretty ok soup actually.

chicken kebab with rice

chicken kebab with rice

there was a choice of mains. i picked chicken kebab with rice. chicken was tender & had grilled flavours but otherwise not much taste. the sauce added nothing to the taste. the vegetables – cauliflowers, carrots etc were just boiled vege. rice? not much taste.

beef kofta with rice

lamb  kofta with rice

the lamb  kofta with rice seemed quite ok too. basically a minced lamb kebab? they were often served in indian buffets, not really my kind of dish, but perhaps if done well with herbs, it could still be better than the chicken?

vegetarian wrap

vegetarian wrap

a friend who is vegetarian took a vege wrap with fries.

at S$15.90 which came to about S$18+, i guessed nothing much to complain about, and food was actually a bit more than passable.

the 6 of us were the solitary patrons. f&b is really a struggle in singapore with so much competition.  if i were to use the criteria we recently talked much about – worthwhile cholesterol & worthwhile calories, then this lunch didn’t really fall into the category. so far for indian food, the best i had was the S$19++ weekday lunch buffet at yantra at tanglin mall, though it is a bit more expensive. but i guess many restaurants in serangoon would serve cheaper & tastier food than amirah’s grill. i don’t know much about middle-eastern restaurants so cannot really make comparisons. i did have a most memorable middle eastern lunch at honey & co london with my son during my recent trip.

we had great fun. i really enjoyed these lunches & dinners with old RI friends. ambience was fine. we had the whole place to ourselves & we stayed & chatted for quite long after makan. :-)

c.h.e.f andy

Great Suckling Pig Set @ Summer Garden SAFRA Mt Faber on 24Sep2014

#1 suckling pig

#1 suckling pig

a friend organised the sep2014 G20 12pax dinner at summer garden SAFRA Mt Faber on 24.9.2014. summer garden is part of qian xi group of restaurants.

the restaurant was empty save our table + 1 other table, like 10% occupied. it’s a waste really as the food was good & service ok.

the friend ordered the S$398 10pax suckling pig set. guess it was upsized to 12pax & we paid for 12pax, though some dishes like suckling pig was same size whether 10pax or 12pax.

#1 suckling pig was good! not better than hung kang or chui huay lim, but it was good, crispy skin, tasty. one friend commented no strong taste, not that i would mind a good porky flavour. :-)

dried scallop crab meat sharksfin

#2 dried scallop crab meat sharksfin

#2 dried scallop crab meat sharkskin had good tasty stock & chokeful of ingredients. couldn’t say it was better than hung kang (which sharkskin fish maw soup was very tasty), but it was very good.

roast chicken

#3 roast chicken

#3 roast chicken was one of the best – very crispy skin & nice tender meat, tasty with the five-spice salt. as good as roland & better than yuanxing.

deep-fried soon hock

#4 deep-fried soon hock

#4 deep-fried soon hock good, very competent, as in most restaurants. wonder if it was 10pax would it be still 2 fishes. soon hock tended to be quite standard 600g size so not sure for 10pax they could find 1 larger soon hock or same 2 fishes.

wok grilled king prawns (13/15)

#5 wok grilled king prawns (13/15)

wok grilled king prawns (13/15)

#5 wok grilled king prawns (13/15)

#5 the wok grilled king prawns (13/15) was good. king prawns were large, 13 to 15 pieces per kg so 70g to 80g per prawn.  i would consider this better than the white cereal prawns at hung kang.

flower mushrooms, fish maw, sliced abalone, spinach

#6 flower mushrooms, fish maw, sliced abalone, spinach

#6 the abalone dish came with lots of ingredients – flower mushrooms, fish maw, sliced abalone, spinach. this dish would be superior to hung kang which had a bailing mushroom dish.

seafood heng hwa beehoon

#7 seafood heng hwa beehoon

#7 and my bowl of seafood heng hwa beehoon really chokeful of prawn, squid etc not sure if the rest got the same.

the beehoon was not tasty enough though, and did not have clams so not quite qualified as heng hwa beehoon?? perhaps the sauce was not mixed thoroughly, but the authentic heng hwa beehoon a friend cooked recently at his house was tastier than this one.

bird's nest

#8 bird’s nest

bird's nest

#8 bird’s nest

#8 bird’s nest with rock sugar was very good, not too sweet. i liked it, surprised me actually!

S$398++ suckling pig 10pax promotion menu

S$398++ suckling pig 10pax promotion menu

for me, the S$398++ suckling pig 10pax promotion menu was quite a good deal. i am likely to go back for a family dinner. :-)

price wise it was cheaper than hung kang’s S$468++ “birthday” suckling pig menu. hung kang had the more expensive pomfret, but depending on taste, some may prefer the soon hock.

c.h.e.f andy

 

Lovely Lunch & Dinner @ Fresco & Cimmino on 30Aug2014

€12 spaghetti alla nerano (zucchini & parmesan)

€12 spaghetti alla nerano (zucchini & parmesan)

we took the 56mins morning train from stresa to milan on 30.8.2014, costing just €16.50 for 2pax, arriving at milano central at 10.35am, then took the metro yellow line 4 stops to duomo & checked in duomo apart hotel. :-)

i had very good meals at fresco & cimmino last time on 21.4.2014. it was just a short walk away, so we went there for lunch.

€14 frutti di mare seafood salad

€14 frutti di mare seafood salad

€14 frutti di mare seafood salad

€14 frutti di mare seafood salad

the frutti di mare seafood salad was a very generous serving & excellent just like last time.

€12 spaghetti alla nerano (zucchini & parmesan)

€12 spaghetti alla nerano (zucchini & parmesan)

my version of spaghetti alls nerano with squid

my version of spaghetti alla nerano with squid

the spaghetti alla nerano (spaghetti with zucchini & parmesan), a popular serrento dish, was good as before, very flavourful from the parmesan cheese & zucchini with a great sauce.

i tried to reproduce this but was not quite successful – my version looked ok tasted good too but was far from the flavours i was trying to reproduce, so not quite spaghetti alla nerano.

€18 tagliata di manzo

€18 tagliata di manzo

€18 tagliata di manzo

€18 tagliata di manzo

the tagliata di manzo was great as always. :-)

fresco & cimmino milan

fresco & cimmino milan

fresco & cimmino milan

fresco & cimmino milan

we went back again for dinner – boring people.

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€26 grilled whole lobster

€26 grilled whole lobster

€26 grilled whole lobster

€26 grilled whole lobster

we went back to fresco again for dinner on 30.8.2014.

the grilled lobster here was very good. at €26, price wise it was no different form london’s £20 lobster at burger & lobster. and it was just as good, only w/o the fries. :-)

my son wanted to try the swordfish tube pasta which did not turn too great. it was kind of expected – the swordfish came in like a ragout sauce which was not my favourite.

c.h.e.f andy

Nasi Lemak Truly Sucks @ Changi Village Food Centre on 21Sep2014

top drinks & dessert

top drinks & dessert

we biked 35km from east coast lagoon to changi village food centre & back early morning on 21.9.2014.

so wanted to try out the hawker food at changi village food centre. turned out to be a huge disappointment.

amigo bakchomee

amigo bakchomee

amigo bakchomee

amigo bakchormee

my wife went first to get her food & came back with bakchormee some 15mins later. she bought from the stall with the longest queue “amigo”.

this amigo bakchormee was really mediocre, which really meant it was quite poor by comparison, far below the standard of 6th avenue jalan tua kong, lau lim @ bedok simpang, ming fa @ upper thomson etc. even the other stall sunny meepok tar at 6th avenue was better. the noodles were not QQ, and the chilli & flavours were what can i say, mediocre! :-(

sri sujana nasi lemak

sri sujana nasi lemak

sri sujana nasi lemak

sri sujana nasi lemak

sri sujana nasi lemak

sri sujana nasi lemak

sri sujana nasi lemak

sri sujana nasi lemak

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mizzy corner nasi lemak

there were 4 nasi lemak stalls. i decided not to queue at “mizzy corner” the one with longest queue. but my short queue (i was the 4th in the queue) at malay stall sri sujana turned out quite long as 2 before were buying 4packets & 5packets. the man was very naggy at every customer. service was poor & not cheerful. :-(

that would be ok if food was ok, but it was not! rice was poor and did not have the fragrant coconut flavours. & sambal chilli the most important ingredient was outright bad & odd tasting. it was salty & like having tau jeoh??? not sure can call it sambal?? to me rice & chilli were like the backbone of good nasi lemak, & both failed completely. :-(

otah was bad, the chicken was quite ok to good, the ikan kuning was ok. this was really poor c/w both stalls no.1 & no.2 nasi lemak at adam road food centre.

i will never eat from this stall again.

ice kacang

ice kacang

soursop ice

soursop ice

top drink & dessert

top drink & dessert

the only thing good was the ice kacang & soursop from top drink & dessert, & it was very good, so luckily i had that, otherwise the whole experience would have been a complete let down, very sian!

not sure if we would eat anything the next time we cycle here, probably just have ice kacang & soursop.

c.h.e.f andy