Fun Relaxed Dinner @ Bistroquet Pizza & Grill on 25Apr2013

capresse (mozarella with rockets & tomatoes)

caprese (mozzarella with rockets & tomatoes) – S$12

today our monthly dining quartet discovery took us to bistroquet pizza & grill at ARC (Alexandra Retail Centre) @ PSA Building. the host for the evening bought 9 voucherlicious vouchers of S$270 worth for S$135 & we were especially keen to try out the 400g porterhouse steak (which looked very alluring on bistroquet’s Facebook photo). 🙂

the place had the relaxed rustic ambience for a great chillax & drinking joint (though it was not drawing the crowd even with voucher promotion as we stayed till 9pm closing time and traffic was quite light). we were liking it already, though still suspect about the standard of food. 1 of our dear friend had kind of “forgotten” (we guessed correctly huh 🙂 ) & was about settling down to watch TV serial with his mum while our other quartet member was frantically SMS-ing, whatsapp-ing & calling him. 🙂 anyway we ordered a caprese (read ca-pri-seh) salad & a funghi pizza to start. the caprese was the usual mozzarella with rockets & tomatoes, light, good actually, and enjoyable.

thin crust funghi pizza

12″ thin crust funghi pizza – S$18

the large (12″) thin crust funghi pizza was good too (they served a white pizza here but we were the old-fashioned lot who loved tomato sauces on our pizza). our friend was not much into cheese but ok with light mozzarella & the young chef (looked like no more than 28) was most obliging to our request to warm up the quarter pizza we kept for the friend. 🙂

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baby back ribs – full rack S$28

we ordered a full rack S$28 baby back ribs (1/2 rack S$18) to share, and it was good!  fork tender and tasty, well marinated, though some of us would have preferred to have the sauce served separate. and 1 friend liked the purple cabbage with mayo which was too sweet for me

400g porterhouse steak

400g porterhouse steak – S$36

next was the 400g porterhouse – the reason we came for specifically and got 1 of us into the highs. 🙂 however it seemed that the office lunch crowd had taken off most of the porterhouse steaks & we were left with 3 porterhouse to share. we had 2 medium rare and 1 medium, served with beef sauce and the chef brought us some chimichurri sauce (taste like pesto sauce) which went well with the steak. 🙂 it turned out that while the taste was ok the meat was a bit tough on the sirloin side to be considered a good steak. The small tenderloin cut in the photo (what I usually thought of as a tender & tasteless cut) turned out to be quite a world of difference –  tender & nice. also of the 3 only 1 had the T so we were guessing the other 2 pieces were all sirloin or new york strip & no tenderloin..haha. 🙂

we asked the chef later & he admitted that the ribeye would have been more tender. well we would have to do that another time. I wouldn’t mind coming back.. in fact I bought another 5 vouchers (S$150 worth) for S$75 afterwards. 🙂

chocolate lava cake with vanilla ice cream

chocolate lava cake with vanilla ice cream – S$8

I am not much of a dessert person and we did not expect much really but since we had the coupon, we ordered a chocolate lava cake and a calzone (a turnover which can be sweet or savoury..in fact they serve a foie gras calzone here as a main course item). As it turned out the lava cake was quite outstanding, and the hardened crust containing the chocolate lava was very good in texture & taste & different from lava cakes in other places. the caramelized walnut with ice cream was a good pairing too.

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calzone – S$8

& the calzone was so pretty. the dough texture was really good too, crispy on the outside not fluffy but a bit like a pizza dough. 🙂 according to the expert among us,  since no one else was in a position to dispute with her “calzone made of the same pizza dough, filled with choc, hazel nuts, pistachio, etc”.

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somehow the young chef took a liking for us, and he showered us with 2 more desserts FREE – a panna cotta which was forgettable and a tiramisu, which was again quite pretty in presentation & tasted quite good albeit not enough liquor for some of us. very good indeed & far above our expectations for dessert in a drinking joint kind of place. 🙂

we paid in total S$124 (7 vouchers=S$105 +S$19cash), and that included 2 cappuccinos + 4 beers on 1 for 1 happy hour promotion. 🙂

c.h.e.f andy

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Nice Dinner @ Roland Restaurant on 24Apr2013

chilly crab

chilly crab

Roland Restaurant was the venue for our get-together dinner on 24apr2013.

Roland had a long history (from 1956 when Lim Choon Ngee & his wife started a seafood restaurant by the Kallang River, later relocated to Bedok Beach – now the reclaimed ECP – and the current location at Block 89, Marine Parade Central managed by their son Roland after they migrated to Christchurch in 1985) and reputation and the food is certain to be good. 🙂 I have always wanted to try but never quite got round to it. I parked my car at Parkway Parade, not by design but turned out to be not a bad option as parking for the evening was only $1.50! The more seasoned among my peers correctly parked at the multi-storey car park where the restaurant itself was located on level 6.

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appetizer platter

We had 13 pax for the evening.  Dinner started with the appetizer platter (prawn mayo, small octopus, a seasoned pork dish, haechor & a roll item) which was quite good as expected.

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crab meat sharks fin soup

That was followed by a crab meat sharks fin soup – good too if nothing exceptional. Sambal kang kong was next. Roland was a good standard restaurant so all the dishes thus far were good.

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crispy roast chicken

Next was the roast chicken. This was nicely done! The skin was crispy & the meat moist, sweet & tender, very nice taken with a dip of 5-spice salt provided. 🙂

deep-fried tiny squid

deep-fried tiny squid

CH & I thought the deep-fried squid (their signature dish) was par excellence – crispy, crunchy, tasty! 🙂 must say I had not taken it for a really really long time liao (don’t go Long Beach, Jumbo type seafood restaurants often & these days they also do fine dining dishes & deep-fried squid does not feature much).

The chilli crab (top photo) was another of Roland’s signature dish. This was very good too, though these days many restaurants like Long Beach, Jumbo etc do this very well too. 🙂 & of course the deep-fried mantou buns to soak up the chilli crab sauce. yummy! 🙂

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The fried rice was also of good standard – “pang” got “wokhae” ie fragrant (my favourite though was the Imperial Treasure dried scallop crab-meat egg-white fried rice, and recently I had a very good one at Xin Cuisine). the deep-fried tiny silver fish I supposed gave it added textured complexity though it didn’t really work for me – too crunchy – I preferred my fried rice simple & fragrant. 🙂 IMG_3653 IMG_3654

the orh nee yam puree dessert was like totally bland? I guess no lard no taste la 🙂 such a wonderful, fun evening of food, fun & feel good! 🙂

c.h.e.f andy

Takaosan (高尾山) Trails & Senbonzakura (1000 Sakuras)

takaosan (高尾山)walking  trails

takaosan (高尾山)hiking trails

Takaosan (高尾山) is the ideal destination for easy, fun trekking. The summit is just 599m and on a clear day we can see Mount Fuji & have excellent view of Tokyo’s cityscape. It is also easily accessible (& so a favourite weekend destination for many) via a 370yen 1 hr train ride on Odakyu Keio Line from Shinjuku, and that’s what I did on 10apr2013, the second day of my trip.

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I had earlier learned from my driving holiday with my wife in Tohoku (just before it was ravaged by the Fukushima tsunami/nuclear disaster) that momiji (maple) koyo (autumn leaves) colours are best viewed in the mountains & sakura in the cities. 🙂 and though my Chasing Sakura turned Missing Sakura Tokyo trip was failing in its primary mission, takaosan did offer both great trekking + late sakura viewing especially the senbonzakura (1000 sakuras) on a 1/2 hr trek from the summit to Itchodaira. 🙂 I would just have to make do with that.

I also had to make do with my injured toes (suffered at a homegourmet dinner 4 days before my trip when I painfully hit the legs of my dining chair),  and the “encouraging words “from my dear friends – “you are like my accident prone friend”, “that’s life wad” 🙂 & what took 3 hrs to recover at a tender age now took 3 weeks! very “sian” – low in spirit..haha. 🙂

there are 3 routes to hike up takaosan – route 1 which is paved all the way to summit, the nature studies route 6 which is Jeanette’s recommended hike passing by the Biwa Falls, & inariyama trail route. At mid-hill there is a route 4 that goes by a suspension bridge & route 3 which passes by 3 small bridges. route 2 is the circle route at mid-hill & route 5 is the circle route at summit. see http://www.takaotozan.co.jp/takaotozan_eng1/course/index.htm

The 5 mins one-way ski-lift & cable car from the base to mid-hill station each cost 470yen (more than my 1 hr Odakyu train fare from Tokyo!) just consider you were contributing to the upkeep of these nice places for all to enjoy (which was the not so profound truth) – I always tell myself. I took the ski-lift. 🙂

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the sign above left tells you come in april if you want to catch sakura & october for the koyo colours. Looking at distant foliage with a hint of colours in the above centre photo, you can just about imagine what it will be like in autumn! 🙂 see http://www.japan-guide.com/blog/koyo12/121119.html

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suspension bridge along route 4, steeper ascend after the bridge

I decided to take route 4 to see the suspension bridge, knowing that I would likely turned back as the guide said after the bridge the route up was steep.

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I decided to go route 1 all the way rather than route 3. this took me pass the Yakuoin Temple (药王院).

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you could see that this was a favourite outing & picnic place for many – family & friends! 🙂

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sakura at the summit

the late blossoming sakuras were few but always stunningly beautiful, endearing even if very short-lived. weather was sunny if not totally clear, but this was mesmerizing. 🙂

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the senbonzakura route to Itchodaira was not quite lined with 1000 sakuras (or maybe some had bloomed & fallen).

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senbonzakura (1000 sakuras) trail from takaosan summit to Itchodaira

still it was such a wonderful walk. 🙂 oooooooooooo!

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nice warm bowl of shimeji miso soup- 300yen

I stopped for a 300yen shimeji miso soup- nice & warm & wonderful warming feeling in the stomach..haha. 🙂

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there was another long rather tedious flight of steps to Itchodaira(the 5 photos above were taken at branch trek on the right side of these steps). I was wondering if to take it, which I did eventually. there was much lesser sakuras on the way up & nothing much to add to the experience, so in fact one could skip this part!

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sakura at Itchodaira resting area

this was one of few sakuras at the resting area at Itchodaira.

I made my way back to takaosan summit. It was past 2pm & I decided not to risk the journey down route 6. It was actually easier to walk uphill & on steps than to walk downhill & especially on a slope, and the natural compensation for my injured left toes had caused my calves especially right side to take up most strain.

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enjoyable red bean dessert!

since I came up mid-hill by ski-lift I decided to take the cable car down. there was a queue of people (about 10) buying the read bean dessert. I decided to try one (it was very good hot & crispy outside fluffy inside though too much of read beans). the queue time turned out to be much longer as there were quite a few buying a few packetfuls like 30  pieces whereas a few of us poor things were waiting just to get one!

I was at takaosan 9.30am and left about 3.30pm. I reckon normally I would have done it including route 6 downhill by 2.30pm. back to Shinjuku for a nice dinner then. 🙂

c.h.e.f andy

Majestic’s Excellent 8-course WGS (World Gourmet Summit) dinner on 19Apr2013

black turffle on hokkaido scallop with gourd

black truffle on hokkaido scallop with gourd

looked at Majestic’s 8-course WGS (World Gourmet Summit) dinner menu on its website & decided to go for this dinner. 🙂 WGS dinners have been around for many years. was never quite motivated to try them as I always believe (& still do) that good food begins with taste, and presentation & creativity (including fusion & molecular discoveries & adventures) are superlative to good taste & superfluous to bad ones; and have always felt it is paying lots of $ to get average (or poor) food & service..

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Majestic’s excellent 8-course WGS (World Gourmet Summit) menu ending 26apr2013

Majestic is our favourite Chinese fine dining restaurant so we are confident with the quality of its cooking (not to say bias..haha..). this 8-course WGS dinner menu is S$99++pax c/w several hundred $ for other WGS dinners & there is a 10% Citibank credit card discount, so it looked reasonable to give it a try & we were happy we did. 🙂

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The lobster soup with a yasai (veg) tempura was a great start. The lobster meat were plump, sweet & tender. The soup was very smooth & tasty – the intense hae mee (prawn noodle) type stock, not the foam cappuccino bisque served at most western fine dining. the tempura batter was good.

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the braised abalone and lotus roots with a minced oyster filling in batter & brocoli in brown sauce was a superb dish. 🙂 Chinese dried abalones in brown sauce are always soooo good. the abalone was smaller than the 5-head ones at Xin Cuisine, probably 8 or 10-heads but still good size. the lotus root with minced oyster though was par excellence, very good indeed! 🙂 next item on the menu (top photo) was plump, sweet,nicely seared hokkaido scallop sitting on a marrow gourd with a sprinkling of tobiko (flying fish roe), and it had an amazingly large black truffle topping it! I love the fragrance truffle & truffle oil add to dishes (especially cold Japanese noodle topped with caviar & some truffle oil at Gordon Grill) but never believe in paying stratospheric prices for them.

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the 4th dish was 1 of the best caramelised (I think honey vinegared) pork rib I had. you can the glaze, glistening..not sure how it is done – whether baked or deep (or shallow) fried & braised. the plating was good with the green tea powder donning some chinese character (京?). 🙂

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teochew steamed promfet topped with pigskin

next was the teochew steamed promfet – as good as any good teochew restaurant, not sure the plating & pigskin topping (odd choice) was an effort in fine dining presentation? whatever –  the taste still a good robust steamed teochew promfet dish. 🙂

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we were expecting panfried wagyu MBS6 – I guess maybe that was too much of an expectation for the price? haha. 🙂 what we got was panfried wagyu guotie (锅贴)..when reading menu I was thinking a panfried wagyu + a pot sticker yum yum..it was not to be..the minced wagyu was very tasty & the dough was good..not quite the same but well can’t have the best of everything, 🙂

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the 2 desserts were I guess another effort at creativity & fine dining.. don’t know what to make of the cherry pie thingy..the puff pastry was excellent, lovely swans too, the filling a bit sweet & not my thing, like a sticky date pudding? maybe.

the ice dessert  I consider a 败笔 (point of failure) of an otherwise outstanding menu..the usual aloe vera sorbet at Majestic is so good no need the trouble to invent something fancy..not that it was bad really, but it was much ado about nothing – an ice jelly in a hawker centre would be more shiok!

overall it was an outstanding & enjoyable dinner. the WGS menu promotion is until 26apr2013. 🙂

c.h.e.f andy

Reclusive or Liberating?

good friend of mine (ours) uses the word recluse to describe himself. 🙂

what he means of course is that there comes a time  (aiya..might as well say it, we are now at the age!) 🙂 where there is no need to put pressure on ourselves to do things or to socialize & so we do what makes us happy & make the people around us (loved ones and strangers) happy if we can (& I always believe in trying)…

I also believe there is no need to try too hard, not in terms of the effort put in but in expecting the results. If I have no expectations and do not need to have things done one way or another or people (friends or strangers) to react in one way or another (though I have a world view that I apply to myself only), then I will not be reactive or defensive.

to me, a relationship that has no expectations – and so no or few stresses – is truly liberating :-)… we do something not because we need to network or impress or name-drop to gain a business advantage, gain entry to some social circle or to be servant to our ego, but because we like it & enjoy doing it. 🙂

all of us have responsibilities and i am not suggesting we neglect them, so we will still need to discharge our duties and responsibilities & do things whether it is our favourite thing to do or not. but if we recognise this, then it becomes something we “will” do & don’t mind doing, and while we may not really turn it into our pet activity, knowing that we dutifully (rather than grudgingly) perform a task because we need to do it can itself be an affirmation of our self-worth and make us feel good about ourselves.

c.h.e.f andy

Nice Food & Ambience @ Ochre at Orchard Central on 25Feb2013

antipasti platter

antipasti platter

a friend close to me now resident at Cupertino California with his family came calling and a few of us arranged to have a quiet 5pax dinner.  I had an expiring 50% discount voucher from Kitchen Language which owns Ochre, Salta, Kumo etc so decided to do dinner at Ochre @ Orchard Central. 🙂

Ochre has a nice dining setting & ambience. It was one of the restaurants that had earlier offered palate discounts so I frequented it quite a few times then. The food was good for the price after palate discounts and as Ochre does not charge service, I used to provide the equivalent 10% in tip to the waiting staff.

For this evening, we had 7 dishes-

  1. antipasti platter
  2. beef carpaccio
  3. seafood linguine
  4. meat-eater pizza
  5. sous vide beef cheeks & kurobuta pork
  6. osobucco on a bed of risotto
  7. funghi risotto

using UOB Kitchen Language 50% discount voucher, we paid S$124nett for 7 dishes for 5pax, so its just S$25nett pax, truly great value for such food quality & ambience. 🙂

the anitpasti was good & substantial – with buffalo mozzarella, parma ham with rock melon, smoked salmon with caviar, artichoke. olives & cherry tomatoes with feta cheese.

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the beef carpaccio with rockets & parmesan shavings was also good.  the seafood linguine though was really average. I think I consistently do mine better!

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the meat-eater pizza was again very average (pizza not my thing but currently I like quatro fromage (4-cheese) pizza after trying a very good one some time back at Alfresco Gusto)- which is not saying so good for an Italian joint to have very average pizza & pasta..well, can’t have everything cheap & good I guess..

the duo sous vide beef cheek & kurobuta pork was quite ok, and actually my friends quite liked this savoury dish.

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the osobucco was the usual good for osobucco in most italian joints, but the bed of risotto not good – not creamy & “pang” (fragrant”) as it should be. clearly they were not good at risotto as the next dish – a funghi risotto which like a vongole dish should define good risotto & pasta dishes – was mushy & not fragrant, again below par!

The restaurant was maybe 40% full on a Monday night & we had a good quiet table though likely not for the other diners as we were laughing quite a bit & quite noisy. 🙂

after dinner we moved to the lobby level and had a nice cuppa to continue our chat. 🙂

c.h.e.f andy

Great Pasta Lunch @ Alfresco Gusto at Ion Orchard on 17Feb2013

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linguine carbonara – S$22

I bought some deal.com vouchers for Alfresco Gusto @ Ion Orchard & the family decided to go for Sunday lunch. Ion Orchard happens also to be a convenient location for other members of the family for after lunch shopping..haha. 🙂

the Alfresco Gusto vouchers were S$10 for S$20 & you can redeem unlimited number of vouchers, so effectively (nearly) it was quite close to a 50% discount, so relatively a good deal if the food & prices were good. 🙂 We don’t do Italian out so much as the ala carte main courses are quite expensive in the good restaurants and both my wife & I as well as our domestic help do quite good pasta dishes ourselves, but we do visit from time to time a few like Al Borgo (update –  i had excellent dinner there recently on 22.11.2013), Valentino, Spizzico, Covelli, Ochre & a good cheaper place like Capri. 🙂

tuna salad - S$20

tuna salad – S$20

We ordered the tuna salad. It was well plated, looked pretty. The mesclun salad with olives was great, the tuna was very average (kind of tasteless) though.

antipasti platter - S$26

antipasti platter – S$26

We also had the antipasti platter which had parma ham, beef, salami & sun-dried tomatoes, olives & baguette. It was good & S$26 was ok but Capri served a much better version at S$18, so w/o the near 50% discount Capri would do better on this item.

I was never much into carbonara. My son actually taught himself to cook a pretty good one, but the one here was really good – creamy & flavourful & looked amazing (top photo), the best among all the good dishes. 🙂

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veal ragout – S$24

I would put the veal ragout as the second best item. It was creamy, savoury and nicely sprinkled with chopped parsley & grated cheese & sun-dried tomatoes. 🙂

prawn linguine in tomato sauce - S$30

prawn linguine in tomato sauce – S$30

The prawn linguine in tomato sauce came with very good helping of large prawns – my daughter counted 7! it was good too but I guessed more towards the ordinary & boring – something we could do at home with equally fresh ingredients almost equally well. 🙂

crabmeat risotto - S$32

crabmeat risotto – S$32

the last item we ordered was the crab meat risotto. It was good as well but I distinctly remembered that I had tried the funghi risotto here once before a while back & that was the best I had for that meal & this crab meat version was not near as good even though it cost S$10 more.

all in all, the 6 dishes for our 5pax lunch cost S$101 nett using the vouchers which was really a very good deal considering the quality of the dishes. without the vouchers it would cost S$181 nett or about S$31++pax. as ala carte order it would not be overly expensive however there were many good lunch set places & better deals to be had elsewhere, so I would do this but not often w/o the discounts.

c.h.e.f andy

1500yen Kuroge Wagyu (黑毛和牛) Lunch Set (sashimi, grilled & braised wagyu) on 14Apr2013

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kuroge wagyu (黑毛和牛) sashimi

was considering couple recommended yakiniku restaurants in Shinjuku like Kurumaya & Jojoen (which was also highly recommended by a good friend).

I found Jojoen (叙々苑) with little difficulty at 7F of a building just across the road from Shinjuku East Exit. 🙂 as was shown on the website, Jojoen had quite good 1700yen & 2700yen set lunches, both were Japanese beef (国产牛) but not kuroge. It had good lunch traffic and was clearly a popular restaurant. I had wanted to try out Kurumaya as it had a lunch kaiseki set which included beef for 5500yen so I continued on. however I was not able to locate Kurumaya w/o my map & GPS (as I did not subscribe to the unlimited roaming service on 14apr2013).

as I was walking up the streets to get back to the Jojeon locality I chanced upon this 1500yen kuroge wagyu (黑毛和牛) lunch set. I decided to give it a go and was happily very well rewarded for my adventurous spirit..haha. 🙂

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the set included 4 slices of kuroge wagyu (黑毛和牛) sashimi – I just love beef sashimi – and they were very sweet, tasty, not chewy & w/o residue. :-).

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1500yen kuroge wagyu (黑毛和牛) lunch set

there was also the grilled wagyu. of course I was not expecting some top grade kuroge & anyway it was really very nice & tasty even though it was not the highly marbled “pang” (fragrant) variety. 🙂

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kuroge wagyu (黑毛和牛) grilled

and I had always like braised beef, and the japanese way of braising beef & belly pork using mirin, sugar & soy sauce was a very nice recipe which I liked. 🙂

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kuroge wagyu (黑毛和牛) braised pot

The shop name was in hiragana or something so I tried but was unable to locate the shop on internet. anyway I was quite sure that I would have no difficulty to physically locate this place again.

yakiniku shop at Shinjuku kabukicho

yakiniku shop at Shinjuku kabukicho

I was very happy with the cheap& good lunch which included everything I wanted – sashimi, grilled steak & braised pot. I am sure to be back here again next time I visit Shinjuku. 🙂

c.h.e.f andy

Trip Planning – Flight, Hotel, Destinations, Transport

everyone will find their own best way to go about things, for me, it’s planning. 🙂

like when I cook a 8-course dinner for 10 friends, or a buffet for 23 friends, it’s all about planning – the dishes, marketing, preparation & timing to start each dish etc.

so same for me when it comes to trip planning, it will not work for me to mistake unpreparedness & lack of research & planning as spontaneity.

  1. the dates – for this what ended up as “missing sakura” Tokyo trip on 9-15apr2013, my plans were derailed (or became spontaneous to be the eternal optimist) as the weather changes brought the sakura flowering 2 weeks forward from the normal period, and Japan Guide’s Cherry Blossom Report 2013 was reporting full bloom in Tokyo on 25mar2013 instead of first week of april! but the point about planning is – once I know this, then I have to adjust the destination to places I can still find sakura (takaosan 高尾山) or where there are later flowering sakuras (eg shinjukugoen). 🙂
  2. flights – the advent of low cost carriers have really trigger mass travels. for 30 years I have been travelling exclusively SIA, but for the last 2 years, I have done quite a few trips to Shantou & HK on Jetstar. for this trip,  I was travelling alone and SIA cost like $1100 for lone traveller.  Scoot (a new LCC subsidiary of SIA) was offering around $500 economy return c/w closer to $700 by Jetstar, and since Scootbiz was just $150 more (& very much less if you were to include the 2 free meals + 20kg check-in luggage + free flight entertainment) & it was an outgoing night flight, I decided to take Scootbiz outbound & return by economy. The only downside is a stopover at Taipei! My $680 fare was in fact about same as what my daughter paid for China Eastern economy return (which stopped over at Shanghai!) I also researched on the seats! according to seatguru.com, Scoot has the largest seat width at 19″ to 20″ for economy and 22″ leather seats for Scootbiz for the 777-200 aircraft for this flight; that c/w JAL’s 17.3″ for economy and 18.5″ for business, Cathay Pacific’s 18″ for economy & 20″ for business & SIA’s own 17.5″ economy & 20″ business seats for the same aircraft & Jetstar’s 18″ for economy & 20″ for starclass for A330-200 aircraft.
  3. hotel – I looked at a few hotels including the Sakura chain which seems quite good & finally settled for Shinjuku Sunroute Plaza, which is just 3minutes walk from JR Shinjuku South Exit and 1 minute walk (right next door really!) from Shinjuku Teio line A1 exit. The cost for a 6 night stay was 63000yen all in including breakfast which was like <S$140/night. This was even cheaper than my recent stay at Hong Kong’s Kowloon Hotel, thanks to the lower yen forex rates. 🙂
  4. destination planning – this has got to do with what you want for the trip. for my case, it was (1)chasing sakura (2)some trekking (3) lots of food 🙂 thus I checked out the top hanami (花见which means sakura viewing) spots, and where to go for later flowering sakura like at Shinjukugoen & also at higher altitude like takaosan (600m); and of course I researched also the takaosan trails, and the Shinjuku restaurants!
  5. transport –  this is very key because of cost & time. In Japan it is very confusing as you have JR Pass, JR East Pass, JR Kanto Pass and all the places you want to go (like in my case Takaosan, Nikko & Kamakura, and Izu which I dropped) are served by private railways which you have to pay a hefty supplement. For example the All Nikko Pass works for Tobu Nikko Spacia trains which connect from Asakusa which means you have to plan to get from Shinjuku to Asakusa to connect. If you use the JR Passes, in order not to have to pay hefty supplements, you have to get to Tokyo Station and take the Tohoku Shinkansen line instead! See this important guide here!

and there is one more variable – the weather! you do NOT want to take a 3 hr journey to Nikko when it is raining or go to Hakone when it is downcast & you cannot see Mt Fuji! so your daily destination plan has to follow closely the weather reports which maybe wrong of course! as my good friend told me=that’s life!

anyway I was fortunate that during my 7 days in Tokyo I was blessed with glorious sunshine and pleasant weather(or perhaps it was I who blessed the Tokyo-ites haha..). 🙂 it was no compensation for missing the sakura full bloom though, but hey that’s life!

c.h.e.f andy

Andy’s Travelogue

my son had suggested (and a few friends did too) that since I am lately into blogging, why not also start a new travel blog. 🙂

I thought about this, but the food & travel blogging are really for my own interest and expression and sharing among family & close friends, and very much a memory aid as I age..haha. 🙂 & if it does provide any service at all to other people out there who I now benefit tremendously from by reading & learning from their experiences on (say) tripadvisor & googling for internet & video recipes, it is merely the mutual empowerment provided by the internet & Facebook era…it is quite bothersome to be managing 2 blogs when the whole purpose of the exercise is just to record my experience & thoughts to aid later day recollections & perhaps to relish some fun & joyous moments. 🙂 so just 1 blog it shall be!

I thought about what to name this category of posts, which will be about travel destinations, hotels & travel planning & of course 1 of my greatest motivation – food! 🙂

I decided to call it travelogue as it is mostly a manner of monologue, and with the Facebook, social network & sharing culture some bits of dialogue among close friends & sometimes strangers, and of course it is like a catalogue of the things that I do and which interest me & my thought processes, and sometimes hopefully some insights and perspective at the time.

c.h.e.f  andy

Happy to Give and Receive

I was having coffee with my daughter & JH at a Shinjuku cafe after a satisfying meal at Ganso Sushi, a kaiten (conveyor belt) sushi (回旋寿司) shop on 12apr2013. My daughter just returned from a full & wonderful day trip to Hakone having glorious sunshine & clear view of Mount Fuji, and I was asking her if she liked to retire early as her hotel was at Asakusa area, but she wanted to have a coffee together.

We were chatting about various things including her starting work soon after graduation and the career options for her & JH. I asked about her starting salary & she asked what she should give to me. I told her I knew what she would give to my wife but if she would like to give more she could give all to my wife. She said “no la, I like it to be the same”. So I told her I would accept of course and that my belief was in life it was just as important to receive as to give, which my daughter nodded affirmatively her concurrence.

All parents would be more than happy to receive any token appreciation from their children as they commence the next lap of their life’s journey with new jobs & financial independence, without placing too much burden on the children. It is both a great feeling for the children to offer and for the parent to cherish the offer & to reinforce the positive energy by showing appreciation for the offer.

Though we mostly know how short & transient life is, and what make us happy & how we should try to be positive, the world is so filled with tragedies, depression, anxiety, anger, sadness, and we are continuously invaded & distracted by negative thoughts throughout the day.

I constantly remind myself to make myself happy, and all my loved ones and friends happy (and strangers too) where I can without trying overly hard. This is of course just my personal views and may not apply to others – everyone would know how to make themselves happy if they want to &  if they try. 🙂

Why not try overly hard? The thing is that if you have expectations that others must share what you believe, think what you think, or understand or appreciate what you do, then (1) your mood which reflects your true self however you want your self image to be will not be relaxed & expansive & you will be just putting pressure on yourself (2) there will be lack of earnestness and instead of generating positive energy, you will be generating negative energy.

But effort is important! I used to tell my children – you must want something! if you don’t want it or treasure it or show the pleasure in receiving or achieving it, why should people want to help you get it? 🙂

So try hard we must, because without effort there is no earnestness. I recall The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho said something like “When you want something, all the universe is conspiring to help you achieve it”. My understanding of this is that when you do something in earnest without having an ulterior motive or expectation but at the same time you are serious &  fully committed and want it in all earnestness & enjoy & are happy doing it, then the positive energy trigger & bring forth all the positive energy from everyone else, so everyone is happy to help you achieve it.

So to me, the purpose must be to increase the happiness of myself and all around me. and so it is a pleasure to give. it makes people happy and make yourself happy. at the same time it is a pleasure to receive and to show the same earnestness in receiving – the appreciation & happiness. 🙂 if you belief that giving makes you happy because you also want others to be happy, then it follows that others feel happy when giving and if it also makes you happy to receive (please do NOT accept anything if it does not feel right or make you happy to do so!) then let others have that happy feeling of giving and positive energy & goodwill will multiply. Like the saying goes “sorrow lessen and happiness multiply when shared”.

We always teach our children – know when to say NO! that is correct of course. at the same time, we should know & treasure the moments when to say YES! 🙂

c.h.e.f andy

Asahi Sushi Shinjuku Sumitomo 50F Course Dinner on 9Apr2013

Kinki - a fatty Japanese delicacy

Kinki – a fatty Japanese delicacy

arrived Tokyo on 9apr2013.

had dinner arranged with my daughter & JH. they were already travelling Japan. decided to book a course dinner in a comfortable environment & easy to locate place, so booked Asahi Sushi at 50F, Shinjuku Sumitomo Building. They had a few course menu promotions for the month & great views up there. 🙂

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JH & I had the 7-course with kuroge wagyu beef dinner. My daughter had a 10-item sushi moriwase set.

for the course dinner, we also had a small veg salad with mayo otoshi. The 7 courses were-

  1. hokkaido crab claw with unagi & vinegared pickles (below photo left)
  2. maguro & tai sashimi (above photo middle)
  3. chawanmushi (above photo right)
  4. kinki (japanese delicacy & chef’s favourite here)
  5. kuroge wagyu grilled
  6. 8-item sushi moriwase
  7. miso soup

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the veg salad, chawanmushi & miso soup were non-events. the crab & unagi vinegared dish was very tasty. the sashimi were very average even for Singapore.

the kinki was fabulous. this very sweet tasting fatty fish is like between a cod (not as fatty) & chilean seabass (the latter is my perennial favourite). super! 🙂

kuroge wagyu (黑毛和牛) rare

kuroge wagyu (黑毛和牛) rare

the kuroge wagyu was good I guess but kind of underwhelming. I always felt Japanese wagyu were so good they were best eaten teppanyaki or yakiniku style rather than western fine dining style. When Andre Chiang was at Jaan years back, we use to frequent there a bit more. he had this kagoshima wagyu done in this Gordon Ramsay style similar to what’s done here in the above photo. It was good of course but I would much rather have it sizzling hot & with the freshly seared aburi marbling flavour. 🙂

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10-piece sushi platter

my daughter was not too impressed with her sushi platter (above photo). It had anago, 2 pieces maki, hamachi? (not sure), ikura (these were small & I much preferred the large ones so maybe it was not ikura), tai, aji, prawn, hotate, maguro uni & akamai (lean toro). after I later tried the very good quality sushi at Daikokuya 大黑屋 kaiten (conveyor belt) sushi, I had to agree with her that you could get equal or better quality sushi at much lower price but of course ambience and view was a world apart. 🙂

her set also included the vinegared crab dish & miso soup.

8-items sushi moriwase

8-items sushi moriwase

for the course dinner, we had a 8-item sushi platter-maguro, saba, akamai, hotate, amaebi, uni, ikura (small ones) & anago. It was good but same observations as my daughter. 🙂

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was the dinner worth it? my daughter’s set cost 2730yen=S$30++. good kaiten sushi not withstanding, S$30++ for a plump, succulent, sweet hokkaido crab claw + 10 piece sushi including akamai, uni, anago, ikura, hotate would  really be nothing to complain about in Singapore.

the 7-course dinner cost 6090yen=S$67++.  here with kinki & kuroge wagyu thrown in, I would say it was still a very good set c/w say Kuriya Dining which offer very good monthly S$88++ set but my usual eat at Mikuni would beat this hands down in terms of overall satisfaction if not value of ingredients. 🙂

& that was before factoring in the free view of Shinjuku night skyline, privacy & quiet ambience.

c.h.e.f andy

Great Kuroge Wagyu @ Shinjuku Korin Yakiniku (光琳) on 11Apr2013

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Kuroge wagyu (黑毛和牛) flank 1180yen for 100g

returned from another long journey again, this time to Enoshima & Kamakura and another 6 hrs+ walking. usually I would skip lunch to optimise the time for the tour. 🙂 this time I had 20minutes at Fujiwara station waiting to board the Odakyu train back to Shinjuku, and so helped myself with a bowl of 400yen nikusoba. good stuff! 🙂

still I was feeling like treating myself to a good meal. I already had 1 expensive course dinner at Asahi Sushi @ 50F Shinjuku Sumitomo building, a very good tokusen (特选) sashimi moriwase also at Asahi Sushi 8F Mylord Shinjuku South Exit, and a cheap food tour including soba, thick cut gyu don, and kaiten sushi. So I thought go try out an average yakiniku place. 🙂

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I found this yakiniku restaurant Korin (光琳) near Shinjuku 1-chome.  It had this very powerful suction chute-not only it rid the place of smoke & smell but the flame rose up when you placed the meat on the metal grill & actually seared & barbeque the meat extremely well – whatever maillard reaction you needed you could not get better than this. 🙂

special taster set of 5 meats (3 kuroge wagyu) for 1980yen

special taster set of 5 meats (3 kuroge wagyu) for 1980yen

They have english & picture menu as in most eats in Japan. Not knowing how the meat standard was relative to the price, I elected to have the special taster set which included 3 types of kuroge wagyu for 1980yen.

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all the meats were good & I enjoyed all of them, especially the 2 very marbled wagyu at the bottom of the above photo. 🙂 I think high temperature flaming (aburi) whether it was on marbled meat or on oily fish sushi or sashimi (like aburi toro) made a superlative improvement to the already great marbled taste.

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being greedy I asked the waiting staff which menu item this was, & I made another order of this kuroge flank 1180yen for 100g (which you see in the photo at the top of the page). This really was fabulous. 🙂

So my dinner added up to 3160yen nett. you could also order beef tongue, scallop/prawn/seafood & bibimbap here as well as a set of 4 kimchi.

I am one very satisfied customer! 🙂

c.h.e.f andy

Ganso Sushi: Shinjuku Kaiten(Conveyor Belt) 元祖寿司 on 12Apr2013

uni (sea urchin)

uni (sea urchin) sushi on 12Apr2013

Today is my rest day. The trips to Takaosan & Enoshima-Kamakura the last 2 days were rather tiring, each entailed >5hrs of walking on my injured toes. 🙂 Today I plan only to stroll around Shinjukugoen to catch any remnants of sakura flowering and later to pick up the All Nikko Pass from Tobu Pass Office at MB1 of Shinjuku Centre Building.

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Ganso Sushi: Shinjuku Kaiten(Conveyor Belt) 元祖寿司

I was passing this kaiten sushi (回旋寿司) place on the way to Shinjukugoen. The first kaiten sushi I tried this trip was kind of disappointing, this fortunately though turned out to be much better. 🙂

kaiten sushi at corner from Shinjuku South Exit to Sunroute Hotel

kaiten sushi at corner from Shinjuku 1-chome

Like the other kaiten sushi shops, there was a powdered tea box where you dished out tea powder (I picked the toasted rice tea 玄米茶 ) & added hot water from the tap, and you can help yourself with the pickled ginger (see above photo).

I ordered the following sushi items-

  1. uni (sea urchin) – 262yen
  2. 2xhamachi (yellow tail) – 2x130yen
  3. ebi (prawn – don’t know what type, I only know amaebi, akaebi & botan ebi – this though was as large as botan ebi) – 130yen
  4. ika (squid) – 130yen
  5. anago (sea eel or conger eel) – 130yen

Total cost = 912yen for 12 pieces, about S$12nett.

The uni (top photo) was above average, good helping, sweet  & not dry but not the very creamy melt in the mouth bursting with flavour kind, definitely good value for 262yen! 🙂

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uni (sea urchin) sushi 0n 13Apr2013

I went back again the next day (13Apr2013) and this time the uni was very creamy & sweet, very good indeed, so do note the freshness & standard may vary a bit. 🙂

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The hamachi standard was inconsistent. The one on the above right photo was excellent. The one of the left was just ok. I could not tell from just looking at them.

ebi sushi

ebi sushi

The prawn sushi was good. It was large but not as sweet tasting & plump as botan ebi (which is very expensive in Singapore like 3pieces for S$25)

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The ika was good not great. So was the anago. This the cheaper version. I did not take the 262yen ones which were like 2 times the size (in length). maybe I should have!

It was a really great sushi lunch and at very low cost of just S$12nett! 🙂

c.h.e.f andy

Economic Quick Food Tour of Shinjuku on 10Apr2013

had a nice dinner & great view at Asahi Sushi on 50th floor of Shinjuku Sumitomo Building with my daughter & her friend last evening, so decided to go for some cheap food this time round after my exhausting 5 hr+ walking trip to Takaosan (高尾山).

as I returned on the Keio line. I recalled this soba shop which I had wanted to visit. There was no difficulty locating it after the fare gate. :-).

I surveyed the available options and picked a 350yen soba which came with an ebi (the super tiny kind) tempura – see photos below.

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350yen soba with tiny prawn tempura @ keio line shinjuku

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self select soba options

This is an easy way to order your food. You just self-select the item you want, make payment at a “meal ticket machine” and out comes a ticket of your meal order which you then present to the shop & wait for your food to be ready. 🙂

what can I say? the 350yen soba was immensely gratifying. was it better than the S$3 bachormee (minced pork noodles)? I think not. but it is colder here and slurping a warm tasty soba was a very comforting & enjoyable experience.

I walked around the streets dotted with restaurants just across Shinjuku West Exit which was also around my hotel Sunroute Plaza.  I found this interesting gyu don shop which advertised a thick cut beef bowl. When I first came to japan 30 years ago, I enjoyed very much the cheap gyu don at Shinjuku including Yoshinoya (吉野家). Those use the very fatty thin sliced beef which are similar to the Korean bulgogi cuts. Now lifestyle has progressed somewhat & the Yoshinaya gyu don is not a very attractive food choice.

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This beef bowl however was quite excellent. The beef were thick cut as advertised (as seen in above photos) and the many sauces & chilli (see photo below) & rice were all  excellent very tasty and enjoyable. It came with a miso soup & glass of water & you could help yourself to pickled ginger on the table. The whole meal costs just 330yen. This was a small portion (but was already quite substantial), and you could pick a medium which is 480yen or large, 620yen.

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Next I went to try out what looked like a better quality conveyor belt sushi.

This was what I had (total cost=862yen)-

  1. 2 pieces salmon belly (262yen)
  2. 4 pieces shellfish (2x130yen)
  3. 2 pieces maguro (130yen)
  4. 2 pieces negitoro (210yen)

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The sushi was rather underwhelming. The salmon belly was good not super. Maguro looked ok but was a cheap cut, negi toro looked great but had not much taste, the shellfish was good so I ordered a second helping. 🙂

the entire dinner  –  I didn’t have lunch of course & took small amount of the gyu don rice :-)..haha..if you can call that=330+350+862=1542yen=S$17++. 🙂

So basically you don’t need to spend that much money eating in Japan!

c.h.e.f  andy

Asashi Sushi @ 8F Mylord Building Shinjuku South Exit on 9Apr2013

I was early for 2pm check in at Sunroute Plaza Shinjuku. My Scoot flight TZ202 touched down on time at Narita 11am. I travel only with handcarry (nothing to shop or cart back) for the longest time, and so got on the NEX (Narita Express) by 11.30am and arrived Shinjuku 12.40pm and at Sunroute soon after.

So I decided I might as well have a bite. As I was getting out of Shinjuku South Exit, I noticed that there was a Asahi Sushi outlet at Mylord Building there. So I took the short walk (300m) & got on the lift to 8th floor.

Asahi Sushi @ 8F Milord Shinjuku South Exit

Asahi Sushi @ 8F Milord Shinjuku South Exit

As I was meeting my daughter & her friend later for dinner (they were already travelling in Japan), I decided to just take sashimi.

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tokusen sashimi moriase

There was an impressive looking Tokusen sashimi moriwase which meant specially selected mixed sashimi (see photo above) at 1800yen, so I decided to just have that.

tokusen sashimi moriwase

tokusen sashimi moriwase

This was what I had-

  1. 5 slices of aji (horse mackerel)
  2. 2 slices of hamachi (yellow tail)
  3. 2 amaebi (sweet prawn)
  4. 2 tai (sea bream or snapper)
  5. 1/2 a awabi =5 slices of abalone
  6. negitoro (minced tuna belly)
  7. 1 whole slug I ate several times before but didn’t know the name (I found out later name was tsubugai)
  8. 2 centrepiece akamai (lean toro)

The aji was very good & went very well withe the dash of ginger. We get very good aji in Singapore as well. The hamachi were quite ok but I had much better plump ones before. The tai was average but at least not those with much residue, The amaebi was good.

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The awabi was fabulous (though the photo was not as I was unable to focus well). I had Japanese abalone sashimi before but usually they were a bit tough & chewy. & they were expensive and not great so I wouldn’t usually order them. These were not tough at all & very sweet, a really nice treat!

The negitoro was also very sweet (I later tried a pair of negitoro sushi at a conveyor belt sushi place & though they looked beautiful they had very little taste).

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the slug thingy (tsubugai) was ok but still a bit tough, never my favourite but quite ok here. and the akamai – lean toro – was also good.

The 1800 yen price (=S$20++) was of course extremely cheap for the items offered. In Singapore it would be difficult to get this for S$80++.

tokusen sashimi moriwase

tokusen sashimi moriwase

So as we all already know, good Japanese food is a lot more expensive in Singapore on a quality-price comparison. There were many other good sets at Asahi Sushi like a good chirashi don for 1490yen – and it looked as good & more in quantity c/w the one at Ginza Kuroson, which to me offers the best priced quality chirashi don in Singapore at S$20++ for lunch inclusive of salad, dessert & ice tea.

c.h.e.f  andy

Value Lobster Set @ Chao Yue Xuan (潮悦轩) on 1Mar2013

Chao Yue Xuan (潮悦轩) S$35nett 7-course set

Chao Yue Xuan (潮悦轩) S$35nett 8-course set

see also the new S$38 8-course lobster & abalone set (21.8.2013).

bought 2xS$35nett 8-course Chao Yue Xuan (潮悦轩) groupon vouchers, so duly visited the restaurant. 🙂

This is the same Ah Yat branch & location at UE Square along Mohamed Sultan Road, only they have changed the name to mean a “pleasing teochew pavilion”..at S$35nett the meal did turn out pleasing enough though nothing teochew 🙂

decor & ambience wise though the place is a bit dowdy, and in fact though this branch is located at UE Sqaure, Turf City has better ambience! there were 3 tables of Chinese tourists this evening – I guess F&B is really competitive here & people do need to survive. 🙂

salmon sashimi

salmon sashimi

the salmon sashimi was actually quite good but not really the belly or fatty type which now even some buffet serve, but it was good, not poor.

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the double-boiled fishmaw(花膠)soup was very good really – sweet, smooth, tasty.

garlic steamed (蒜茸蒸) razor (bamboo) clam with tanhoon

garlic steamed (蒜茸蒸) razor (bamboo) clam with tanhoon (glass noddles)

the garlic steamed razor (bamboo) clam with tanhoon (glass noodles) was good (every restaurant should really be able to do this well) though Ah Yat at Turf City was better & Long Beach @ Dempsey was better than both, and we didn’t think that serving it without the shell instead of on the shell was a great idea. btw, i also did a good steamed razor clam in garlic oil myself.

deep-fried fish chop with strawberry sauce

deep-fried fish chop with strawberry sauce

I cannot really fault this fish chop (2 pieces – very large serving) . The deep-fry was done right crispy & not soggy, but the meal was really filling & we were not into this sweet strawberry sauce thingy & this asian fusion? dish did not match well with the other menu items. I took 1 piece. My wife did not touch it.

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the lobster in pumpkin sauce was very nice. It was a mid-size maine lobster, about 450g (& larger than the one we took subsequently at Xin Cuisine). pumpkin sauce is a favourite cooking style with Ah Yat & goes well with crab, I think more so than lobsters. Comparing this with the very light cheese gratin lobster at Xin Cuisine I would think this is better (& of course larger) – though my wife would disagree – but I guess this was more robust in taste & presentation c/w Xin Cuisine’s which can be said to be more fine.

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poached nai bai (奶白) with abalone sauce

This nai bai vege was very good! 🙂

baked prawns with noodles in superior sauce

baked prawns with noodles in superior sauce

I didn’t get this dish though – the prawn was large & fresh (live right..) & in superior sauce how to go wrong? but it was soggy, not “QQ” (al dente)..& with the fish chop, would be the weakest links in this set.

The red bean dessert does not really deserve mention or a photo..haha.:-)

anyway, it was difficult to fault this S$35nett 8-course set – the ingredients like lobster & razor (bamboo) clam were good quality, the salmon & prawn were fresh, soup & vege were good; quality of cooking was not quite there but still above average.

I may not do this too often but I have bought another 2 vouchers, so I am planning to go back before voucher expires. 🙂

c.h.e.f andy

Chinese Fine Dining Set @ Xin Cuisine on 31Mar2013

chicken & mushrooms in eggskin dumpling in pumpkin soup

chicken & mushrooms in egg skin dumpling in pumpkin soup

I had not tried Xin Cuisine, despite it being included in Amex Palate dining privilege for a while already. and though I did have intention to try out the food here using palate discounts, it was ANZ card marketing that got me to ask about this lobster & abalone 1 for 1 menu. We were still not sure though, as you could not really tell by menu alone the quality of cooking, so when we got ourselves seated I studied the ala carte menu a little in addition to the the promotion set menu below (which as it turned out payment could be made by any credit card). 🙂

Xin Cuisine Lobster & Abalone Set

We had always felt that Majestic offered the best Chinese fine dining set, and others like Tunglok could not compare on a price vs quality of ingredients & quality of cooking basis though it might be a bit more debatable when comparing fine dining over the whole ala carte menu & ambience etc. For us though since quality of cooking pipped the other considerations, we had more confidence that a dish in Majestic would turn up tasty c/w another place (and of course as justified by the price).

On this occasion, we decided on the set menu, and it was a very good decision! 🙂

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We started with a duo appetizer. There was a roast duck on a pan seared foie gras & cucumber (seems that Xin is famous for their suckling pig with foie gras), & a small saucer of thick spicy jellyfish. Both were very nice. The roast duck felt like a sous vide item, very tender & totally consistent. In terms of fine dining, it was no less fine than western fine dining.

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Next was chicken & mushrooms in a egg skin dumpling in pumpkin soup. This was very, very, very good. It was such a beauty to look at, and the soup was so very, very tasty, as good as Majestic’s 黄焖鱼翅 which was a lot better than Tunglok’s version. And the dumpling was so delicate to behold & so tasty to eat. Very few western fine dining restaurants here offered something this fine!

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5-head abalone (about 2in) on bed of spinach with sea cucumber

The next item was the 5-heads abalone on a bed of spinach with sea cucumber in brown sauce (5-heads mean the size is 5 abalones to 1 kati though I am clueless whether it is the HK old kati=600g or the China kati=500g. In China it is now 1斤10 两 & 1 两= 50g)。 This was as good as Chinese braised abalones went in terms of 口感 bite/texture  & taste.

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and there was the 1/2 lobster, done with a very light cheese gratin. The lobster was smaller (about 350g). My wife preferred the 上汤焗 style so cheese lobster not her favourite but I must say the taste was good & this was really very nicely done. This was a good illustration of quality of cooking – Chao Yue Xuan for example offered a larger 1/2 lobster in a good value set which we had recently, but the quality of cooking & presentation made a  huge difference between fine dining and not so fine dining. 🙂

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and then we had the egg fried rice & spicy pork & this very plain fried rice was very very good – such crisp long grains & so fragrant it was as good as Imperial Treasure’s crab meat fried rice with dried scallops & egg white which was our perennial favourite – & so both of us who avoided carbo mostly had to evoke our “worthwhile carbo” philosophy and finished up all the rice. The spicy pork collar was very nice too.

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snow lotus in almond cream

For dessert,we had the snow lotus in almond cream. Both of us were not very “dessert persons”, and cream 糊 was not my favourite & very less so for my wife. This though was only very slightly sweet & extremely smooth which was what defined a good 糊, be it almond (杏仁) or walnut (核桃) or combined (鸳鸯). I don’t remember eating snow lotus before – thought it was hasma but it wasn’t, texture was good. For us I guess it was an ok above average dessert but it was “fine” alright in terms of quality. 🙂

P.S. – see here for Restaurant Promotions update.

c.h.e.f andy