Fish Head Curry Lunch @ Banana Leaf Apolo on 29Aug2013

haha..was in 2 minds whether to make this post. 🙂 why? see here = https://chefquak.com/2013/08/31/why-i-blog-my-guidelines-perspectives/

i enjoyed very much the lunch with old RI schoolmates & chatting over a cuppa afterwards at tekka food centre on 29.8.2013. 🙂 we are at a stage of our life where we are relaxed, enjoy company, want to spend time together, have different life perspectives & experiences to share, and enjoy listening to others’ perspectives whether they are same or different from our own. 🙂

the makan (“food”) at banana leaf apolo @ race course road was also ok, though pricy & nothing memorable (except the fish head curry). still i decided to make a quick post to record this get-together. 🙂

fish head curry

fish head curry

we ordered 4 dishes to share among 6pax, and the vegetarian among us ordered just naans & a paneer (indian cottage cheese that tastes like tofu) dish with curry. including lime juices, the meal came to S$150, about S$22pax. it’s quite ok but NOT cheap at all especially for our vegetarian friend.

best among the dishes was the fish head, predictably. it was a very good fish head – very fresh red snapper head & very tasty curry. i enjoyed it very much & i also got to eat the eyes etc. slurp, slurp! 🙂

chicken tikka

chicken tikka

the chicken tikka (cutlet) was a tandoori version & a bit dry, kind of below average really!

chicken curry

chicken curry

we also had a chicken curry & small squid curry (i forgot to take photo). both curries were tasty, but these were really quite cheap dishes with very cheap ingredients. eg at prata cafe @ evans road, you can get a very tasty mysore mutton curry for S$3.50! at chinatown market, you can get 1.5x the portion of small squid for S$3 & just plonk them in a curry mix.

basmati rice

basmati rice

the lunch might not be value for money, but i did enjoy very much including the basmatic rice & sides & was even inspired to cook a fish head curry myself the next day. 🙂

there are so many inexpensive eating places at race course road for both north indian dishes & the largely south indian fish head curries & chicken & squid curries we had. i plan to have fish head curry again & hope to have better review to post than this one on banana leaf. 🙂

c.h.e.f andy

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Why I Blog & My Guidelines & Perspectives

i set myself a few guidelines (like to call it perspectives) when i started this blog-

  1. privacy – my blog is primarily for my personal enjoyment, recollections, relishing & sharing moments of joy & get-togethers/fellowship with family & friends. thus all posts/photos/stories/gossips on people are private & password protected.
  2. sharing with public – internet/youtube/facebook & social media have empowered us. i have gained tremendously from shared knowledge of friends & strangers alike, and if my posts can be of use or enjoyment to anyone, then super! thus i am happy to share my recipes, food reviews, travel posts & also photos of food & scenery with public.
  3. only things worth sharing – of my many food reviews, perhaps only 2 are negative. first, i try to be very selective if i am the one choosing the places to dine. second, for myself, i do not find any motivation to spend time posting reviews of places i didn’t like & won’t go back – doesn’t quite make sense to me though i can see there is some value in alerting other diners. still i get more kick sharing joy & things i like than things i don’t. 🙂 likewise for sharing good & successful recipes. i do share though on facebook bad dining experience & recipe failures. 

Good Value 7-course Set @ Ah Yat Turf City on 26Aug2013

braised abalone with mushroom & lettuce

braised abalone with mushroom & lettuce

had our dining quartet monthly lunch at ah yat @ turf city on 26.8.2013.  the host bought a S$156 voucher for 4pax 7-course set. a very good deal with lobster, abalone, soon hock etc. 🙂

i used to go ah yat at turf city a lot. they had 50% discount (now 40% discount) during weekdays & the cooking & service were good. i had not been there though for more than a year so i took a look with a friend at the tanks & the (discounted) prices. my favourite items razor clams was now $5.80 each (before S$4,80), frog S4.80 (before $3.50), boston lobster S$8.88/100g (before S$5.90/100g) & tilapia S$1.50/100g (before i think was S$1.10/100g)..anyway prices had gone up but still ok, probably i would come back for these ala carte dishes.

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deep-fried soon hock

deep-fried soon hock

for the set, we had braised sharksfin with crab meat. the soup was good with very generous helping of fins. the deep-fried soon hock was good as always, though i always prefer steamed for live fish (even for tilapia which has some “mud” taste). 🙂

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next was a mexican spiky sea cucumber (supposedly more expensive variety) with minced pork stuffing & brocoli. the brown braising sauce was good & the brocoli “to the bite” al dente=excellent, the sea cucumber though was rubbery, not sure why? but something was not right with the preparation, not soaked long enough or something.

butter baked boston lobster

butter baked boston lobster

butter baked boston lobster

butter baked boston lobster

ee-fu nooldes

ee-fu noodles

next came an impressive plate of boston lobster in 4 halves. the menu said garlic butter baked lobster & it came with a batter layer. i estimated 2x600g=1.2kg at the current discounted price of S$8.88/100g would cost S$125nett after 10% service & GST, so S$156nett for the set was very good deal.

my first bite though & i turned to my dining companion – “there is no taste in this lobster”..for a live lobster, it was really lacking in taste in this preparation. later we asked the server if we were to come back again could we change the cooking style to super sauce (上汤局). the reply was ok. it was a waste that we did not ask earlier!

the ee-fu noodles was plain but tasty & the 4 of us managed to wipe clean the plate! 🙂

almond birdnest

almond birds nest

the almond birds nest dessert was good too. i liked it. there were lots of birds nest which i did not care for much so i was not bothered whether they were fake or not. anyway it was a nice dessert.

this really quite a good deal, and i would come back again if the promotion is back. though if i were to make a comparison with the S$38 lobster & abalone set at chao yue xuan (another ah yat restaurant at mohamed sultan), just food-wise this would pale by comparison. the lobster made a huge difference. the one in superior sauce (上汤局) at chao yue xuan was par excellence, & the abalone was huge by comparison & very tasty. the stone pot garoupa soup was not sharksfin but was very good & in place of soon hock they had a very nice kurobuta & a chicken salad. chao yue xuan does have some negatives. we had a private 6pax table at a corner for lunch the other day & 1/2 the tables were filled in the small restaurant.in the evening sometimes there were tables occupied by tourist & the place looked messy c/w ah yat @ turf city.

anyway i liked both the sets & will do this again when the promotion is back. 🙂

c.h.e.f andy

Early Sunday Dimsum Lunch @ Royal China on 25Aug2013

char siew

char siew – S$14

the children arranged early sunday dimsum lunch at royal china, a dimsum restaurant we all liked but had not gone for a while. 🙂

we booked 4pax at 11am on sunday 25.8.2013 & was advised we had to vacate by 12.30pm, quite usual. 🙂

some dishes i did not quite recall whether they were good or not. now that i record in the blog i can remember whole lot better. well, that’s why i blog. 🙂 the char siew was very good & a very good-sized helping at S$14.

scallop dumpling

scallop dumpling

spicy mala dumpling (抄手) -

spicy mala dumpling (抄手)

i didn’t remember the scallop dumpling. it was good. the har gao was also good (but i forgot to take photo). i thought i remembered the spicy mala dumpling (抄手) usually came in a glass with quite a bit of sauce & was quite good. this time it did not taste good, especially the filling. i would not order this next time. the ones we had recently at crystal jade lamian xialongbao were very much better!

special cheung fun - 1 char siew, 1 scallop, 1 prawn

special cheung fun – 1 char siew, 1 scallop, 1 prawn

XO fried carrot cake

XO fried carrot cake – S$8.80

deep-fried mango spring rolls

deep-fried mango spring rolls

deep-fried mango spring rolls

deep-fried mango spring rolls

we ordered the special cheung fun which included 1 char siew, 1 scallop, 1 prawn – smooth & good as usual, liked it! i didn’t remember the XO fried carrot cake – cost a bit more at S$8.80 but liked this especially with the haebeehiam chilli. 🙂 also had the deep-fried mango spring rolls – the skin was great, crisp, somehow the prawn mango filling was not such a great matching. i can do without.

steamed pork ribs

steamed pork ribs

char siew sou

char siew sou

mango salted egg custard bun (香芒流沙包)

mango salted egg custard bun (香芒流沙包)

the steamed pork rib was very good as usual. my son ordered the char siew sou, the rest of us were not great fan of that. it’s competent but not my favourite. we used to like the salted egg custard bun. this time they had mango in it – mango salted egg custard bun (香芒流沙包). it was not a disaster, still taste of salted egg bun, but really it was a big minus to me.

the 4pax lunch cost S$89. overall we were quite ok with the dimsum lunch, nice environment, ok service (they forgot 3 of our orders), & generally good food. i would still prefer crystal jade’s 抄手, imperial treasure’s dragon beard carrot dumpling & fried rice at both places (very strangely there were no fried rice dishes on the menu).

c.h.e.f andy

Great Bakuteh @ Ng Ah Sio Chui Huay Lim on 23Aug2013

ng ah sio bakuteh - S$9.80

ng ah sio bakuteh – S$9.80

<had bakuteh at Song Fa on 5.9.2013. ribs were a bit better & cheaper than ng ah sio if w/o voucher discounts>

this a quick post. i love bakuteh. there was a time i could eat bakuteh like 5 times a week! still can..haha. 🙂

there are many good bakuteh stalls in Singapore. my favourite used to be rong cheng at sin min road (have not tried the branch at midview city) which served a huge tasty prime rib, followed by lao ah tee next to boon keng MRT, which also served cold teochew mullet (乌鱼) & Japanese seabass (小黄鱼) which i like. 🙂 however recently i tried rong cheng & somehow the rib tasted different while the price went up from S$6 to S$7 a bowl.

was looking for a lunch place & saw the deal.com S$18 for S$30 voucher for ng ah sio @ chui huay lim, and decided to give it a try.

this the new ng ah sio branch at keng lee road. it is an aircon environment, so the price is higher & there is 10% service & also GST.  the bakuteh (top photo) was S$9.80 & the set which include rice, you tiao & chye buay was S$2 more at S$11.80 so we ordered 2 sets. 🙂

set include you tiao,  chye buay & rice

set include you tiao, chye buay & rice

pork trotters - S$8

pork trotters – S$8

we also ordered a braised pig trotters to share. the bakuteh was good, sweet & not overcooked. the you tiao was crisp & not soft (usually i don’t order you tiao because they were cut too early & became soft after being left in the bowl before serving), the pork trotter was a large portion & just good for sharing. it was tasty & had nicely braised skin & fat together with the meat.

the meal comprising 2 bakuteh set + 1 trotters to share came to S$37 & after using the voucher, net was S$25. it was good & S$25 would be about the price to pay in any other bakuteh stall, so it was ok really! i would certainly not pay S$37 for this! 🙂

c.h.e.f andy

Great Value Alacarte Buffet Dinner @ Peach Garden Novena on 20Aug2013

for this evening, we picked peach garden novena for our group dinner on 20.8.2013.

they had this $32.80 ala carte buffet, with 1 free for 3 paying. we had 16pax + 1 who ordered vegetarian ala carte, so we had 4pax free. there was a S$30 corkage/bottle so we ordered a S$65 bottle of white wine & had 3 other bottles corkage-free. 🙂

we thought the food was quite good & much exceeded our expectations of a ala carte buffet. the total bill including 1 bottle of white wine came to $38pax. jolly good! 🙂

salmon fish skin

salmon fish skin

roast pork

roast pork

deep fried eggplant with meat floss

deep fried eggplant with meat floss

vegetarian goose (素鹅)

vegetarian goose (素鹅)

for me, the fish skin was a nothing dish, can skip. 🙂 the roast pork (烧肉) was good with a mustard dip (but usual). so was the deep-fried eggplant with meat (not sure pork of chicken) floss. the vegetarian goose was i thought rather good in texture & taste – crisp & tasty! 🙂

sharksfin in sharks bone cartilage soup

sharksfin in sharks bone cartilage soup

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there were like 7 soups for the picking.  most had the milky sharksfin in sharks bone cartilage soup, fishmaw with sea whelk soup (above) or sharksfin with crabmeat soup. 🙂

deep-fried tofu

deep-fried tofu

we also had a tofu dish – ok crispy but otherwise average. 🙂

kong ba (梅菜扣肉)

kong ba (梅菜扣肉)

pan-fried venison

pan-fried venison

pan-fried kurobuta

pan-fried kurobuta

the kong ba (梅菜扣肉) was very good. the venison was the usual artificial bicarbonate tenderised meat version – ok but not my kind of dish. the kurobuta was  tasteless & forgettable – very odd really, as kurobuta is usually very marbled & tasty & not difficult to do.

deep=fried soon hock

deep=fried soon hock

minced ginger bating (巴丁鱼)

minced ginger pating (巴丁鱼)

wasabi mayo prawns

wasabi mayo prawns

we had both the deep-fried soon hock & the pating fish. the few good teochews loved the pating & especially the belly. 🙂 i thought it really odd that they served a 1/4 pating fish, and it looked like a 700g & NOT a 1kg pating. never seen it served that way before, so what they do with the tail portion? anyhow the fish was excellent..i could eat another portion myself!

the soon hock was a bit more mundane, a good competent version. some liked this better as pating, a fresh water fish, had more of a “mud” taste, though not by much. 🙂

the wasabi prawn was well executed & excellent dish, nicely lightly deep-fried & not too much wasabi mayo (the last time a friend bought dinner here, it was coated in thick green paste, probably by a trainee!) but this dish had become pedestrian being served in every restaurant from majestic to tung lok, paradise, crystal jade, imperial treasure etc. 🙂

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the 3 egg (egg, salted egg, century egg) spinach (“hoing chye”) was another competent dish, good accompaniment after all the meat!

char kuay teow

char kuay teow

ee-fu noodles

ee-fu noodles

for carbo, the char kuay teow was tops! very good wok hae & tasty. the ee-fu noodles were forgettable (& forgotten!)

pulut hitam with coconut ice cream

pulut hitam with coconut ice cream

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some of us had all 5 desserts. the 杨枝甘露, a popular dessert, was the only one not worth taking here. i had the pulut hitam with coconut ice cream which was very good & the jelly which was nice & refreshing. 🙂 the almond tau huay (beancurd) & the sea coconut were ok too. 🙂

it was another usual df3 (din-filled, food-filled, fun-filled) evening. the servers came twice to say that the other tables complained about our noise level but what to do? (not that many of us heard her anyway). 🙂

the evening was memorable & i really liked the food, so maybe start thinking about going back…haha. 🙂

c.h.e.f andy

Superb Lobster & Abalone Lunch @ Chao Yue Xuan on 21Aug2013

1/2 Baked Boston Lobster in Superior Soup (上汤局)

1/2 baked boston lobster in superior soup (上汤局)

See also my update on 28.10.2013.

P.S. there was another S$156 4pax 7-course set promotion at ah yat @ turf city but this was still better!

this was a superb 8-course set at chao yue xuan and for just S$38 + S$2.50++pax for peanuts, tea & towels. 🙂

S$38 8-course lobster & abalaone set

S$38 8-course lobster & abalaone set

in terms of quality of ingredients & taste, it was quite superior to the value lobster set i had there previously.  i would say it was equal or even better than the fine dining lobster & abalone set at xin cuisine.

the 5 of us were there at 1pm on 21.8.2013, the restaurant was 1/2 full & we had a table at a private corner.

shredded chicken with sesame ssalad

shredded chicken with sesame salad

the starter was a shredded chicken in sesame salad. it was good, tasty & the helping was rather large.

garoupa fillet with beer in hot stone pot

garoupa fillet with beer in hot stone pot

garoupa fillet with beer in hot stone pot

garoupa fillet with beer in hot stone pot

next we had star garoupa fillet with beer in hot stone pot (the ala carte price for this dish alone was S$28++), & it was very good, very tasty & the fish fillet were excellent. 🙂

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the braised whole yoshihama abalone was top quality, excellent in taste & bite & it came with 花胶(fishmaw) & brocoli. 🙂

the 1/2 baked lobster (top photo) was again par excellence, very very tasty with the superior soup.

pan-fried kurobuta pork chop

pan-fried kurobuta pork chop

pan-fried kurobuta pork chop

pan-fried kurobuta pork chop

same with the pan-fried kurobuta pork chop.  i thought it looked & tasted like a galbi beef rib cut served in majestic restaurant but the menu said kurobuta. anyhow taste was great!

poached vegetables with dried beancurd skin

poached vegetables with dried beancurd skin

braised ee-fu noodle with mushroom

braised ee-fu noodle with mushroom

the poached vegetable with beancurd skin was also very good. i supposed by comparison the ee-fu noodles was ordinary, but it was still a good, not poor, dish.

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& the snow fungus with date dessert was refreshing & enjoyable too…really every item was good & i could only sing praises – such excellent ingredients & preparation for soup, lobster, abalone & kurobuta. 🙂 actually i think it was an incredible deal at S$38 + S$2.50++pax= about S$41nett. 🙂 i have already bought more vouchers to go back!

c.h.e.f andy

Sichuan 水煮鱼 @ Chengdu Sichuan Restaurant on 17Aug2013

水煮鱼 - S$18.80

水煮鱼 – S$18.80

N.B. my chinese friend recommended & i tried this very cheap 水煮鱼at foodgle hub, NUS, on 23.12.2013, & it was quite good too.

i have this craving for sichuan 水煮鱼. my wife & children are not into it much so i have few “kakis” aka partners in crime to go for this fix. 🙂

these days there are so many sichuan restaurants in chinatown, geylang and where else. i have not been to many but a good one is chuan garden restaurant at pagoda street, but it’s kind of ex.

my favourite for now is chengdu sichuan restaurant at outram road. they don’t charge service & GST but the few times i was there i gave a tip anyway. most dishes are about chuan garden standard but at 1/2 to 2/3 prices. also chengdu uses 生鱼 (toman or snakehead fish) which is excellent whereas chuan garden i suspect uses pangasius, the cheap vietnamese catfish. 水煮鱼is my favourite dish & chief reason for going to such a restaurant and after trying the chengdu version, i don’t really want to go back to chuan garden if it is just a 水煮鱼 fix. 🙂

on this day, 17.8.2013, i got to satisfy my cravings with my sis & a chinese friend.

the 水煮鱼 (top photo) was so, so good. the 生鱼 fillet were so fresh & tasty & no bones, and the peppercorn (花椒) made it so “pang” ie flavourful & full of umami. 🙂

水煮牛肉 -  S$18.80

水煮牛肉 – S$18.80

蒜油麦菜 - garlic romaine lettuce

蒜油麦菜 – garlic romaine lettuce

usually i would order 夫妻肺片which was another favourite sichuan dish, but i had not had 水煮 dishes for quite a while so decided to have a double dose & ordered 水煮牛肉..it was good! the beef was tenderised as usual with bicarbonate, certainly a “far more kick” preparation for me c/w the usual stir-fried beef, but really no comparison with 水煮鱼. 🙂

there were only 3 of us & the 2 dishes were rather large dishes, so we skipped other favourite dish like double-cooked pork (回锅肉) which is another very good dish here, & just ordered a vege, a 蒜油麦菜 garlic romaine lettuce, to complement the meal. this was very good too. 🙂

well, the craving was met but did not get any less by doing, so i want to go back soon. 🙂

c.h.e.f andy

Excellent Kaiseki Lunch @ Keyaki on 18Aug2013

teriyaki cod

teriyaki cod

see also keyaki update on 27.10.2013.

pan pacific hotel had undergone a period of retrofitting last year.  we used to head for kaiseki at keyaki especially during year end where the menu items were more attractive (with lobster, Jap wagyu etc). i had not been back to keyaki since end 2011. the only other time i visited pan pacific was for the buffet lunch at the edge, though at S$58pax i did not find it a compelling offering even with 1 free for 3 paying.

recently i noticed that keyaki has a S$60 8-course weekend kaiseki brunch (we had tried the brunch there a while back but didn’t find reasons to return). this time i also had added incentives to redeem some accumulated points which would expire Jan 2014, it was an excellent lunch (or brunch?) – don’t quite see how was it brunch? 🙂

sashimi moriawase

sashimi moriawase

we had a otoshi starter – a small simmered pickled fish dish. next was mixed sashimi comprising salmon, hamachi & akamai (lean toro). it was good. 🙂

chawanmushi

chawanmushi

the chawanmushi was good too – very smooth & tasty for a ordinary chawanmushi though many places like (say) hokkaido sushi serves one with ikura which is much sweeter.

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the tempura came with 1 prawn, 1 fish & 2 vegetable items. it was a good tempura, the batter was light, fluffy & crisp. 🙂

the teriyaki cod (top photo) was best! i don’t like sweet teriyaki sauce much but this was lightly flavoured which enhanced the very flavourful cod.  excellent dish! 🙂

beef teppnyaki

beef teppnyaki

the beef teppanyaki was good too. on this day though the service, usually impeccable, left much to be desired. the kitchen had somehow missed our order (or misplaced the beef? haha) & they served it to 1 of us while the rest (4pax) waited good part of 1/2 hr before we were served the dish.  we had all ordered medium rare but it came all effectively well done. still surprise, surprise the USA sirloin was tender and tasty, not superb but quite ok really. 🙂

maki

maki

maki was quite ok too,

the set came with macha ice cream (& it was good here NOt the cheap sweet variety).  i asked for 2 kurogoma (black sesame) ice-cream & they served to us. that was really good 🙂

the food items were of good quality & standard, & good value for S$60++. will probably go back again. 🙂

c.h.e.f andy

Really Nice Dishes @ Crystal Jade Lamian Xiaolongbao on 11Aug2013

special sauce chicken (口水鸡) la mian -

special sauce chicken (口水鸡) la mian –

recently my children had been taking me places. 🙂

i guess it is quite odd that i have not been to crystal jade la mian xiao long bao at HollandV! anyway i had a really great lunch there on 11.8.2013, the day i was cooking a 7-course family dinner for 8pax at home. over-overdose of carbo! 🙂

every dish was good! so best among the good to me was the special sauce chicken (口水鸡) la mian. i am firstly partial to sichuan ma la (四川麻辣) dishes. and this chicken was so excellent & the noodles al dente & went perfectly with the chilli sauce. 🙂

抄手 spicy dumpling

抄手 spicy dumpling

the 抄手 was good, though this dish is good too in many places like imperial treasure, royal china etc. 🙂

小龙包 - the best!

小龙包 – the best!

the 小龙包 xiaolongbao was the best! the soup inside was so tasty & the meat & skin just perfect. this must be the best 小龙包 i had!

beef brisket/tendon la mian (dry)

beef brisket/tendon la mian (dry)

the beef brisket/tendon la mian 牛腩筋拉面(dry) was to me surprisingly good! though it is still no competition for me re my favourite beef noodles 牛腩牛杂面 in HK, & when my son ordered it i thought it couldn’t be as good as the one at SICC (which is very good)..but it was! the beef brisket/tendon were very tasty & very nice with the la mian.

seafood fried rice - super good

seafood fried rice – super good

the seafood fried rice again surprised me.i thought no fried rice was as good as imperial treasure’s, but it was! very good, just as good, maybe better. 🙂 we were super greedy so ordered 2 fried rice! the 6 dishes cost about S$80 for 4pax. be back for more soon! 🙂

c.h.e.f andy

Fish & Chips (Smells Good Tastes Good) @ The Old Brown Shoe on 10Aug2013

fish & chips

fish & chips S$12.50

a trip down memory lane. my children had been talking about The Old Brown Shoe pub at Bukit Timah (next to Coronation Plaza) but i had not tried earlier. this evening on 10.8.2013 4 of us decided to drop in. 🙂

it had an alfresco area. very pub ambience with the rustic wood bar counter. we found ourselves a cosy corner inside the air-con area. 🙂

steak & guiness pie

steak & guiness pie S$12.50

steak & guiness pie

steak & guiness pie

we ordered 2 fish & chips to share. was deciding whether to add shepherd’s pie. the server recommended steak & guiness pie which had beef rather than lamb so we went with it. 🙂

the fish & chips came as usual wrapped in old newspaper, with a layer of parchment paper inside. & it was good! the batter was very good & crispy. the fish was sweet, soft in texture. i was quite sure it was pangasius, a cheap Vietnamese catfish, but anyway it was good. 🙂 & the malt vinegar on the table was very good. just love the smell & taste of salt & vinegar on a good, not soggy, fish & chips. enjoy the chips too but couldn’t take too much of it. 🙂

the pot pie was ok too. the beef was quite tasty (& beefy as expected), but i would have liked more crust. maybe i will try chicken pie the next time.

we had a cider & 3 water. the price came to $60. food i guess is limited don’t mind to do this once in a while.

c.h.e.f. andy

Cheap & Good Zi Char @ Kok Sen on 7Aug2013

black bean sauced fish head with bitter gourd

black bean sauced fish head with bitter gourd

Update = we went to two chefs at commonwealth crescent on 26.11.2013, but that was just average. kok sen was a lot better. 🙂

for hawker tour, see hawker tour @ BTFC on 19.7.2103.

this the 2nd edition of our hawker & zi char tour. 🙂

i had never been to kok sen at keong siak street. however i have seen FB friends posting photos & good comments, & hungrygowhere reviews were mostly good, so i did not doubt that it would be a great outing on 7.8.2013. we have also among us some expert who had been to kok sen & dong ya (东亚), and knew all the right dishes to order. 🙂

claypot chicken flavoured with tangerine

claypot chicken flavoured with tangerine

deep-fried tofu drizzled with minced pork

deep-fried tofu drizzled with minced pork

beancurd paste romaine lettuce

beancurd paste romaine lettuce

we were early at 6.30pm before the crowd. the first 3 dishes came quickly. all were good. i don’t care much about claypot chicken dishes, but this 砂煲甘香鸡 came with a touch of tangerine, was quite unique & tasty. liked it! 🙂 the 家香豆腐 (deep-fried tofu drizzled with minced pork) was very good – the tofu skin was very crisp & the inside was tasty. excellent dish! the 腐乳油麦(romaine lettuce with fermented beancurd) was super too. in my opinion better than 强记鸡粥 at Tai Wai in HK. 🙂

for me the best had to be the black bean sauced fish head with bitter gourd (top photo). it came with good serving of fish meat & fish head. liked this dish a lot & will be back for more! 🙂

horfun with egg

horfun with egg (滑蛋河粉)

alas, the last was not the best. in fact, the horfun (滑蛋河粉) was just mediocre, not even good. any coffee shop zi char stall would do same or better.  this was strange really. any good zi char stall must be able to fry up dish out “wok hae”, and it was odd that this was not so for a common basic dish like horfun?

the entire dinner was S$71 including 1 drink + chinese tea for 5 of us. good food + great company = enjoyable evening.

after that we went to have coffee at dong ya (东亚). they now occupy the previous pasta inc shop & just started business so had not replaced the pasta inc shop name signboard & did not have many customers..anyway will be back to try dong ya (东亚) also.

c.h.e.f andy

Great Lunch Buffet (Yantra Update) on 1Aug2013

tandoori prawns

tandoori prawns

a quick update on Yantra’s Mon-Thurs S$19pax lunch buffet(my last visit).

went with my sister for lunch buffet on thursday 1.8.2013, and this time the food was par excellence. 🙂

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Yantra has a spacious, classy, quiet ambience.

curry chicken, tandoori prawns & fish curry - the 3 best dishes

curry chicken, tandoori prawns & fish curry – the 3 best dishes

the buffet was the usual spread. today though we had 3 excellent dishes – a tandoori prawns, fish curry & curry chicken. the prawns were large, plump & has nice bbq flavour – i took many.

fish curry

fish curry

the fish was fresh & tender & both the fish & chicken curries were great for eating with the naans & tandoori roti. really enjoyed this lunch. 🙂

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i don’t think much of dessert in indian restaurants, my impression being they are overwhelmingly sweet (sorry that’s just me!) so my last time here i did not visit the dessert station. this time my sis took the carrot & it was really nicely done, mildly sweet & about right.

c.h.e.f andy

3hrs Wait & Still Enjoyable Dinner @ Jamie’s Italian Vivocity on 2Aug2013

rump steak salad

rump steak salad

this was a most memorable dinner for the 5 of us on 2.8.2013.

it started with a friend who turned down our invite to join a group makan because he “had too much good food” & “overwhelmed” with work. then he whatsapped us to say he was going for this jamie’s italain dinner.  then started a string of delectable food photos on group whatsapp, so we were quite underwhelmed by his reasons & logic. but it was forgivable as he was invited for this pre-food tasting at jamie’s. 🙂

that’s not the end of the story of course. we were having this birthday dinner at Mikuni for another friend 2+ weeks back. an email reminder went out 1-2days before & he was emphatically pushing for some details to be done his way..haha.. so when we sat down for dinner & he was nowhere to be found, we told ourselves he could not have forgotten & guess what when we finally decided to call 1/2hr later he was at home and had already had dinner with his mom, very commendable of course. 🙂

anyway that was how this make-up birthmonth (alas, even the birth month had passed!) dinner came about. hahaha…

it was not possible to make a phone reservation at jamie’s, so we arranged to queue for a reservation. on 2.8.2013, 1 of us queued for 45mins & gotten a reservation at 7.05pm. we finally got our table at 8.55pm!

calamari

calamari

nachos

nachos

so we got ourselves seated at the bar & entertained ourselves for almost 2hrs. fortunately we were such good friends it was very enjoyable just chatting & taking some finger food with prosecco. the calamari was very good, tasty inside with crispy slightly fluffy batter like tempura. the nachos & the tomato sauce dip was great too!

jamie's italian at 9pm

jamie’s italian at 9pm

time (even 2hrs) passed quickly when you were having fun. it was time for us to get a table. our friend struck up a conversation with the very friendly, affable, helpful Amy, the manager, who recognised him from the earlier food tasting. before we knew it, we were ushered to a private room.

meat & fish planls

meat & fish planks

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Seeing that we had waited almost 3hrs to finally get seated, Amy arranged to serve us their popular fish & meat planks antipasti.

both were very good.  the meat plank had cheese with fruit jam on crackers, some pickles, salami, beef, ham & St Daniels prosciutto (aged ham).  the fish plank came with fish fritters, mussels & clams, some mackerels on toast, & some salmon carpaccio (that looked like tuna?)

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we also had very nice polenta and some croquettes – both were very good! 🙂

squid ink pasta with seafood

squid ink pasta with seafood

white truffle risotto

white truffle risotto

we were kind of full actually after the planks so we ordered only 3 mains. the aussie grain-fed rump steak salad(top photo) was excellent with BBQ charred flavour & tender for rump cut, & the salad was great. 🙂

the white truffle risotto was very fragrant tasty & much to my liking.  our friend though said it was not as fragrant as what he had last time for food tasting. 🙂 the seafood squid ink pasta was also very tasty though it was not squid ink sauce but pasta only with a plain sauce.

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2 of us were not much into dessert so we shared just 1 panna cotta for 5pax & we all had coffee/tea. it was good too! 🙂

it was an excellent dinner outing for the 5 of us! more the company & time together, but the food was good too. on this night also we were given a private room plus complimentary antipasti. because of the excellent service by Amy & also Renci (a very pleasant cheery Singapore girl studying medicine at glasgow, & as it turned out 1 of our RI friend son’s primary school classmate – small world indeed!), the host gave a cash tip on top of the usual ++ service charge. 🙂

i estimated the food including 2 planks, 3 mains, 1 dessert, 5 coffee/tea & the earlier prosecco & bar food (calamari & nachos) would cost $325 (excluding the tip & assuming the planks were not complimentary). though the service floored us, the food was good & maybe just slightly different from usual fare. at this price, I would certainly go back again but not if i have to wait in queue & 1,2 or 3 hrs to get seated (we heard some waited 5hrs). that’s just me. w/o my wonderful friend, i would not have tried for this adventure & gain the unexpected which made life interesting (this time round it was a very pleasant surprise).

anyway i later checked on the internet & jamie’s was booked full for oct2013 dinners (there were some lunch lots & i booked one), and very few lots in Nov2013.

c.h.e.f andy

Pleasant Dinner @ Balzac Brasserie on 30Jul2013

beef tartar (S$32)

beef tartar (S$32)

today we decided to try Balzac , a French bistro at Rendezvous Hotel, another palate outlet. Balzac was located at the hotel lobby level 1. it had a pleasant indoor alfresco area.  i did not bring my camera & the setting was a bit dark for my poor photography & dying Samsung S2, so photo quality was bad. 🙂

bread basket

bread basket

we had a bread basket. so-so.

lobster bisque (S$16)

lobster bisque (S$16)

we ordered a lobster bisque to share. it had the usual intense shellfish flavour (good enough) & was nicely “foamed” too..though for me lobster bisque must come with some lobster chunks (this one didn’t!). 🙂

escargot (S$14)

escargot (S$14)

the escargot was entirely forgettable. so far the best escargot i had was still the one at Dozo which had 3 cheese gratin version matched with a single herb garlic version. 🙂

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we ordered also the cold meat platter. this came with 2 salami cut, parma ham, duck rillette & baguette. it was very good & quite large for 2pax. 🙂

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for the mains we ordered a beef tartar (there was no usual appetizer portion). this was a bit different from the usual chopped version but a bit chunky streaks of tenderloin with the usual onions & mustards w/o anchovies. it was good! 🙂

we also had ribeye steak. the 200g steak looked aged & was very flavourful better than what i do at home & worth every cent, 🙂 the very slim fries were ok but a bit salty.

in all we paid S$70nett after 50% palate discounts for 2pax, excluding wine. the food was not overwhelming but good enough for the discounted price. will be back. 🙂

c.h.e.f andy

Patara Update (using Creative Eateries 50% Vouchers for 6pax Dinner) on 29Jul2013

tom yam talay (seafood)

tom yam talay (seafood)

a short update since my last Patara post!

Creative Eateries group of restaurants (Patara, Tajiyama, Shabuya etc) left amex palate earlier but had taken the opportunity of GSS (Great Singapore Sales) to sell 50% dining vouchers. Patara Fine Thai Cuisine is 1 of my favourite restaurants (when the price is right! haha) so i bought some more vouchers (S$300 worth for S$150 price) when i last dined there. 🙂

for our monthly (almost) G8 dinners, we have tried several italian, spanish, indian, french restaurants, so this time the guys took my recommendations to try out Patara on 29.7.2013. 🙂

mixed appetizers (S$20)

mixed appetizers (S$20)

we had a mixed appetizer – 2 prawns fritters, 2 spring rolls & 2 pouch dumplings – quite good.

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second appetizer was a seafood salad.  this was really good – very generous helping of sweet plump scallops, grilled prawns & 2 salmon fillet, & very nice thai salad. must order! 🙂

deep-fried whole garoupa with 3-flavoured sauce (S$39)

deep-fried whole garoupa with 3-flavoured sauce (S$39)

the deep-fried whole garoupa with 3-flavoured sauce was excellent as always – crispy & fresh! 🙂

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the tom yam talay was ‘lagi’ best here – full of scallop, prawns & sotong (squid) & suitably sour (see top photo & above left)

roast duck curry

roast duck curry

the roast duck curry was very lemak (lots of coconut milk) & tasty. the thick duck slices were nice but i would have preferred the ones with roasted skins – alas they don’t do it here these days.

aussie tenderloin beef panang curry

aussie beef steak panang curry

the NZ beef steak panang curry was another great dish! forgot to ask for gravy to be provided separately but anyway gravy was very nice too, though maybe in smaller dips. 🙂

olive rice

olive rice

as always olive rice was here was 1 of the best! 🙂 forgot to take photo of the mango sticky rice dessert!

total dinner bill for 6pax 7 dishes+1 dessert+ S$78 white wine+1 iced tea was S$349=S$199 with Creative Eateries GSS (Great Singapore Sales) 50% vouchers. 🙂 super deal right?

c.h.e.f andy

Zaobao Maybank Chinese Classics Series Lunch @ Mandarin Grand Ballroom on 27Jul2013

steamed Canadian seaperch

steamed Canadian seaperch

a group of my friends had been going for the Zaobao Maybank chinese classics series lunch. the series combine Singaporean’s favourite activity (eating!) with games & quizzes to raise profile, interest & understanding of chinese culture. 🙂 the current series is based on the 4 chinese classics  红楼梦,三国演义,水浒传 & 西游记 (dreams of the red chamber, romance of the 3 kingdoms, water margin & journey to the west).

for this Zaobao lunch on 27.7.2013, the theme was romance of the 3 kingdoms (魏- 曹操、蜀 – 刘备、东吴- 孙权). 🙂

this the first time i was joining the lunch series. the 6-course lunch (i understand that previously there were even more courses) was priced at S$96nett (S$48nett for Maybank cardholders). 🙂

we had 2 tables of 8pax, and very nicely 2 of our friends brought their 86 & 87 years old moms to savour the lunch & outing, & they had been doing this everytime….toast to my wonderful friends! 🙂

Zaobao Maybank Chinese classics series lunch Menu

Zaobao Maybank Chinese classics series lunch Menu

each item of the menu was named after some major events (stories) from the 3 kingdoms. 🙂

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we had a trio of appetizers – crabmeat salad with what felt like goma (sesame) sauce, a crispy prawn fritters with thousand island dressing & a jellyfish with thai sweet & sour sauce. 🙂

i must say the food was really quite outstanding & much better than expected for this kind of large group lunches (which sometimes could be quite bad even when prepared by famous kitchens) so all credit goes to Mandarin Court (previously Pine Court) and executive chef Sunny Kong. 🙂

minced chicken balls in chinese yellow wine soup

minced chicken balls in chinese yellow wine soup

next was a minced chicken ball with 黄酒chinese yellow wine soup – & a very tasty one-excellent soup! & here the story was 曹操煮酒英雄. 🙂 soup was followed with steamed Canadian sea perch (top photo), similar in taste & texture as Chilean seabass – both my absolute favourite. another superb dish! 🙂

valiant attempt at 草船借箭

valiant attempt at 草船借箭

in between the various quizzes, games & prizes, our 2 tables participated in a art & craft game. above was 1 of the 2 better valiant attempts at retelling the story of 孔明’s 草船借箭! haha. 🙂

baked pork ribs

baked pork ribs

next item was a baked pork rib. this was very good as well. 🙂

fried brown rice with chinese sausage

fried brown rice with chinese sausage

& we had a lovely wok-fried brown rice with chinese sausage – very fragrant, tasty dish. 🙂

aloe vera with jasmine tea

aloe vera with jasmine tea

the last, a dessert item, was very good as well. nice refreshing aloe vera in fruit cocktail & jasmine tea. 🙂

i enjoyed this lunch very much, of course the great company of friends especially. 🙂 i generally do not go out of my way to have quizzes & games distracting me from the food & conversation, but i didn’t mind it really. i knew some of the stories of 3 kingdoms (from watching TV serials) & though several friends commented the loudspeaker was too loud, i was overall quite ok with the way the lunch was managed by the organisers. 🙂

will be looking forward to more zaobao lunches. 🙂

c.h.e.f andy