S$2.80 Teochew Fishball Noodles @ Guan Kim Coffeeshop on 30jan2014

teochew fishball noodles S$2.80

teochew fishball noodles S$2.80

was going to get some sugar & cornflour  at sheng shiong at commonwealth mrt at 12.30pm on cny eve 30.1.2014. the queues were like 20pax, so i gave up. but since i already put parking coupon, i decided to walk over to the tanglin halt market to take wei yi laksa. however laksa stall was closed. wanted to try the very nice tau huay with ginko nuts. this time, they sold out of tau huay.  no luck…

guan khim coffeeshop @ tanglin halt

guan kim coffeeshop @ tanglin halt

teochew fishball noodles S$2.80

teochew fishball noodles S$2.80

anyhow i went to the coffee shop next to the hawker centre & found a teochew fish ball noodles which i ordered.

c/w xin lu at mei chin food centre, the fish balls were just slightly harder (i guess means more starch) & maybe less tasty. the noodles were done well, qq (al dente) & not soggy however, the chilli sauce was too salty.

overall it was not as good as xin lu and also hup kee, the other fishball noodle stall at mei chin food centre. it was ok fishball noodles but not something i want to go especially to take.

c.h.e.f. andy

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Raw Fish Salad & Porridge @ Tiong Shian on 28Jan2014

raw fish S$6

raw fish S$6

had a not so satisfying tapas dinner with a friend at tapasan, dorsett hotel on 28.1.2014. tiong shin at kiong siak street was just a short walk away, i called my wife & asked if she wanted me to taboo (takeout) some raw fish & porridge for her.

the stall that we went often in the past was at maxwell hawker centre. tiong shin was quite good for the raw fish but a tad less good for porridge c/w maxwell. 🙂

meat balls & lean pork porridge

meat balls & lean pork porridge S$4

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anyhow, i tapao a S$6 raw fish & a S$4 meat balls & sliced prok porridge, that is, after  a very long 25mins wait. fortunately i was not in a hurry & we just stood & chatted, waiting for the food preparation.

the raw fish was excellent!

the porridge was not smooth & consistent like a good hong kong porridge or those i could have at imperial treasure & also maxwell. still it was very enjoyable. there was large helping of minced pork & lean pork too.

we especially enjoyed the raw fish as we had not taken that for a real long while. anyhow i will try the maxwell stall again next round to remind myself what it tastes like & to make comparison with tiong shian. 🙂

after collecting the take-out, we walked back to my car parked at bukit pasoh. as chinese new years was just few days away, chinatown was already litted up. i took couple photos of the light-up, decorated with many galloping horses to usher in the chinese new year. 🙂

c.h.e.f andy

Below Par Tapas Set Dinner @ Tapasan Dorset Hotel on 28Jan2014

4 tapas

4 tapas

bought a deal.com voucher so went with a friend on 28.1.2014 to use it before expiry on 31.1.2014.

the S$29.90 voucher for 2pax tapas dinner set include selection 4 cold tapas, 2 hot tapas, paella & drinks at tapasan at the new dorsett hotel at bukit pasoh.

the ambience was great. we sat at a table alongside the long glass windows facing new bridge road.

choice of drink included stellar artois or hoegaarden beer. my friend ordered the spanish beer & i ordered a guava juice. we arrived restaurant at 8.45pm. website said last order 9.30pm but the spanish server informed that they ran out of paella & would replaced by a seafood fried rice & they were about the same. i told her paella & seafood fried rice were not the same. anyhow she gave us an extra guava juice to make up. service & attitude were ok, nothing great.

cheese balls

cheese balls

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seafood fried rice

seafood fried rice

the 4 cold tapas (ham, cured meat, salmon, cheese/egg) were ok i guessed, but i should really say below par for a decent tapas restaurant. likewise the hot tapas of cheese meat balls & fries with egg/sausage pieces. and of course really it was quite meaningless to have seafood fried rice at a tapas restaurant instead of seafood & chicken paella in the dinner set menu. the fried rice was of ok to good standard, so as a meal it was ok.

my idea of a good tapas restaurant was la cicala at club street which served excellent S$25pax set lunch included 3 tapas, main & coffee, but i think it had closed for sometime already.

to be fair, price-wise at S$29.90 net for 2pax dinner (a good paella alone could cost that much, well that was if we actually had a good paella instead of substituted seafood fried rice), food was ok-ish & really i should not complain, but i would not want go back for sub-par food even at cheaper prices. 🙂

c.h.e.f andy

Post Australian Open 2014 Finals Dinner @ Red House Seafood on 26.1.2014

bbq squid

bbq squid

3 of us went a friend’s condo in the east to watch nadal vs wawrinka autralian open finals on sunday 26.1.2014.  the starting time was 4.30pm. i brought some durians – mao shan wang (猫山王) & mei qiu (美球). both were very good, mei qiu was very creamy but the mao shan wan was still creamier. 4 of us ate durians while the players were warming up.

we were all nadal supporters, but were quite ok for a wawarinka win. i still did not see wawrinka beating nadal. the match did not turn out to be the epic we anticipated, but nadal had given his best in the circumstances (he was clearly in great pain & conflicted & i thought he should retire during or after the second set rather than to risk his career with serious injury, fortunately it did not seem afterwards that the injury had lasting consequences, hope not anyway..), and wawrinka was playing as well as he could without a nadal in top form to bring out his best.

post match, we decided to go to red house seafood 小红楼for dinner. i had not been to 小红楼 for >10 years. the place was quite well patronised on a sunday evening, but its neighbour jumbo was simply overflowing.

my friend ordered the famous bbq squid, 椒盐salt pepper crayfish, 1 steamed sri lankan crab, steamed razor clams, fried garlic asparagus & mee goreng. the food was better than expected. the price was quite steep. with OCBC card 10% discount (20% for lunch) the bill still came to S$238nett for 4pax w/o drinks (only tea).

garlic steamed razor clams with tanhoon

garlic steamed razor clams with tanhoon

pepper salt crayfish

椒盐 pepper salt crayfish

steamed sri lankan crab in wine

steamed sri lankan crab in wine

stir-fried asparagus

garlic asparagus

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the red bbq squid with jelly fish was their house special. like a friend said it was more like cuttlefish (cuttlefish had a cuttlebone & the difference i saw in wet markets being that cuttlefish were squat & flat so looked round & from my experience had a lot more ink for squid-ink pasta, while squid were long & cylindrical) . i had never had this before. it was excellent! the seasoning was a bit sweet but i liked it.

the steamed razor clams with tanhoon in garlic sauce was very good as expected. many restaurants now do this very well. so i didn’t think it was better than long beach or jumbo or ah yat, but anyhow it was a very nice dish. 🙂 i also did a good steamed razor clam in garlic oil myself but of course there was no comparison with what these restaurants produced. 🙂

the crayfish was fresh & sweet. 椒盐 pepper salt was not my preferred preparation as it came with a light batter. i preferred the usual sambal or the teochew style with yellow onions & egg.

the “medium-size” sri lankan crab i estimated about 1.2kg. my friends didn’t want pepper or chilli so we had it steamed with wine. it was quite good, the meat was sweet & quite firm though the crab was not “thiond” meaning firm & filling the shells.

the garlic asparagus was good. the mee goreng was very tasty with good amounts of seafood. my friend picked very nice dishes. the food was good & better than what we anticipated.  great tennis get-together & great dinner! 🙂

c.h.e.f andy

Nice Lunch @ Nasi Padang River Valley at Zion Road on 23Jan2014

curry chicken

curry chicken

i used to eat here more when my children were younger (meaning i was younger & had more capacity for carbo & cholesterol) & also buy back for home gatherings.

the food was more expensive in recent years but still good. i had a few meals at the nasi padang stall at tanjong pagar railway station which was also good and a lot cheaper before it closed (wonder where it moved to?).

nasi padang river valley

nasi padang river valley

my sis had wanted to try this stall again so we came early at 11am+ on 23.1.2014. still empty but they filled up quite quickly. we ordered 6 dishes for 3pax, cost S$25.

assam fish

assam fish

sotong (squid) in tomato sauce

sotong (squid) in tomato sauce

beef stomach

beef stomach

lady fingers

lady fingers

brinjal chilli

brinjal chilli

rice with beef stomach

rice with beef stomach

the curries were good as usual, but the both chicken & beef stomach curries while fragrant were really much too salty. the assam fish (ikan tenggiri) was excellent, with slight sour kick. the sotong (squid) in tomato sauce was great to. and the 2 vege, lady fingers & egg plants were very good.

it was a really nice meal, slightly much for 3pax lunch, so S$25 i guess was quite ok really. hawker food can be expensive too these days.

c.h.e.f andy

Great Value 20pax Dinner @ Shin Yeh on 22Jan2014

咸水鸡 - similar to drunken chicken

咸水鸡 – similar to drunken chicken

organiser of RI friends’ dinner this month wanted to do it at a taiwanese porridge place & chose shin yeh,a tunglok restaurant. this dinner get-together was the most successful by far – we had initially 22pax, 2 could not attend last minute, still we had 20pax on 2 tables on 22.1.2014.

i had the amex palate discounts – 20% for 5-20pax. the restaurant called & i spoke with the manager who initially said we could not get discounts as we were 22pax. i gently told her it didn’t make sense – the worse case would be that we had our 20% discount for 20pax & no discounts for 2pax – & perhaps we should take our business elsewhere. the manager was sensible enough to say she would split the bill for us but that this was an exception. whatever! its a competitive world out there & business was not that great that evening. in any case as we finally settled as 20pax, no rules were broken!

i went earlier with the organiser to order ala carte from the menu (there was no discount for set menus & as always when festivity is near – CNY – set menus were very ex & often offer poor value).

we usually avoid appetiser & tea as they added heftily to the bill. in this case though tea was S$12 for the table (seemed like same S$12 for another number of diners on a table) so it was just S$1.20pax & very reasonable. we could have done without the S$5 appetisers which were just bah kua but anyway we reduced to 2 a table so just S$10 for 10pax. ok lah… 🙂

sweet & sour soon hock

sweet & sour soon hock S$32×2

pineapple prawns S$24

pineapple prawns

we picked 10 dishes.

#1 咸水鸡 – a cold dish similar to drunken chicken, was good. meat was sweet & good shaoxing wine flavour.

#2 we decided to take the staff’s recommendation & ordered 2 sweet & sour soon hock for each table. it was cheap compared with live fish, and the preparation made it quite tasty dish.

$3 another staff recommendation was the prawn with pineapple. this was good too. the prawn preparation was like a wasabi or salted egg prawn, lightly deep-fried. the pineapple added zest to the dish. 🙂 the staff suggested that this dish was more unique than taking live prawns.

三杯中卷 - 3 cup squid

三杯中卷 - 3 cup squid S$20

roast chicken S$36

roast chicken S$36

oyster egg

oyster egg S$16

pig trotters with squid & prawns

元蹄 pig trotters with squid & prawns S$28

#4 the 三杯中卷 (squid) was good too. 三杯 (3-cup) is a common preparation in taiwan & hakka dishes = 1 cup soy sauce, 1 cup cooking wine, 1 cup sesame oil. & since we already had a cold chicken dish & another whole roast chicken, we picked squid instead.

#5 the whole roast chicken with five-spice salt dip was tasty enough with crispy skin. it was kind of small though.

#6 the oyster egg was ok average dish.

#7 the 元蹄 pork trotter with prawns & squid was good – great taste & texture, uncommon to have prawns & squid in the preparation but an welcome addition.

braised tofu with minced pork

braised tofu with minced pork S$28

some mushrooms dish

some mushrooms dish S$24

mustard green with dried scallops

mustard green with dried scallops

complimentary mochi

complimentary mochi

we ordered 1 tofu & 2 vegetable dishes.

#8 the braised tofu with minced pork was good.

#9 the mushroom dish was quite unique though the price was to me unattractive, S$24 for medium portion c/w S$32 for the roast chicken.

#10 mustard green with dried scallop was small but always tasty dish with the dried scallops (瑶柱)

the restaurant provided a free mua chee (mochi) dessert. we were quite full already so did not add any dessert orders.

food was competent, quite good really. the bill after 20% discounts came to S$594nett for 20pax or S$30pax, so it was really great value. the service staff were great – responsive, polite & helpful. shin yeh though can be quite expensive (e.g. the soup of the day was S$10pax so it really depends on the food & portions you order). we were able to order fish, prawns, chicken & pork trotters that were substantial & not costly, so we had a great meal, enjoyable evening get-together at very reasonable cost. 🙂

c.h.e.f andy

The Best Dinner Degustation @ Jaan on 20Jan2014

seafood ceviche

seafood ceviche

of all my reviews thus far, this was the best dinner! 🙂

went to jaan on 20.1.2014 with a friend couple who are very close to my wife.  jaan has been always our favourite degustation restaurant. i had not intended to take photos as i had reviewed jaan when we dine here on 8.5.2013. the prestige menu (summer or winter) usually featured minimum changes, and so i missed out on the 2 amuse bouche photos. the first fingerfood bites platter was somewhat different with chicken samosa etc but the same crackers with humus dip. the second cepes mushroom tea, a very intense tasty soup, was largely the same – still the best soup i had. 🙂

the freshly baked bread basket came. i picked a brioche (a puffy highly enriched bread with nice crust) & a baguette. they did not have the previous truffle bread, which was brioche with truffle infusion.

when the first dish came – #1 a seafood ceviche – i decided to take photos. i had not paid attention to the prestige menu having assumed it had few changes. the ceviche was par excellence! well so many dishes were. 🙂 it was incredible – it had langoustine, caviar on top another prawn, scallop, oyster, ikura & crab meat. i could eat this again! 🙂

beetroot

beetroot “melody”

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toast to go with beetroot “melody”

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55min 60degC organic egg

55min 60degC egg

55min 60degC rosemary smoked organic egg

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55min 60degC rosemary smoked organic egg

roasted foie gras

roasted foie gras

#2 next was a beetroot melody thing – jelly, sorbet, some garnishes including cheese. there was some toast to go with it.

#3 the 55min 60degC  rosemary smoked organic egg with iberico chorizo & proscuito was same as before. i love the texture combination the egg yolk added to the dish & the savoury & slightly salty proscuito made it such a very enjoyable experience. a similar dish was served at au jardin for our recent new year eve dinner on 31.12.2013, and maybe this was something i could try out myself for my home dinners. 🙂

#4 there was no change to the roasted foie gras dish. my wife though preferred the caramelised pan-fried version, anyway she doesn’t take foie gras much these days. 🙂

brill

brill with crayfish foam

miyazaki wagyu

dry aged miyazaki wagyu

miyazaki wagyu

dry aged miyazaki wagyu

miyazaki wagyu

dry aged miyazaki wagyu

#5 the brill, an atlantic flatfish in the turbot family, came with crayfish foam. it was beautiful to look at, fine & exquisite in taste, but the texture of the brill was not my favourite.

#6 the menu prestige had pigeon as the second main, however 1 friend did not want pigeon so we asked the chef to substitute & requested for the miyazaki dry aged wagyu which was served on the 5-course menu. thanks to our friend, i tried miyazaki wagyu at jaan for the first time! it was fabulous! we were served a black sesame puree on the side, sounded odd, but tasted perfect with the wagyu.  although it is common for western steak cuts to be wet-aged or dry-aged, i have not seen this done for japanese wagyu. don’t know why but jap wagyu are so expensive, and already the flavour is very intense due to the high marbling, so perhaps not common to incur weight loss & intensify flavour further through ageing? anyway i was not complaining as the aged miyazaki wagyu was just exquisite! 🙂

pre dessert

pre-dessert

choconuts

choconuts

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we had a citrous pre-dessert, which had blood orange etc like a palate cleanser., very nice indeed.

#7 then it was the choconut – different temperatures of chocolates..good but no better than previous versions.

we ended with petit four & coffee/tea. it was such a wonderful dinner! 🙂

the entire degustation comprised 7 courses (4 appetisers, 2 mains & 1 dessert) PLUS 2 amuse bouche & 1 pre-dessert, so it was almost like a 10 course degustation.

every dish was great, many were superlative, and it was indeed an artisan cuisine, very pretty, fine & refine, utterly pleasurable.

c.h.e.f andy

Expensive Family Ala carte Dinner @ Chui Huay Lim Restaurant on 19Jan2014

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teochew cold crab

had an expensive very average food at chui huay lim on 19.1.2014.

i did a family dinner there with my brother & sister & ordered ala carte as i had jumbo$ expiring in jan2014, better redeem. 🙂

the the prices gone up. roast suckling pig was S$168, now S$198! cold crab was S$28, now S$30. 1/2duck & 1 whole puning chicken were S$28 now S$32. pork trotter jelly & hae chor were S$8, now S$10.

teochew cold crab

teochew cold crab

cold crab was the best, bursting with roe & meat filled the whole shell. 🙂

ter kar tan (pig trotter jelly)

ter kar tan (pig trotter jelly)

ter kar tan (pig trotter jelly) was good too. 🙂

roast suckling pig

roast suckling pig

crackling skin of the roast suckling pig was good . but the meat was overcooked & tough!

lor arh (soy sauce duck)

lor arh (soy sauce duck)

the 1/2 lor arh (soy sauce duck) was good but no better than muliangzai liang kee, and imperial treasure teochew restaurant was simply superior in comparison, and i think my own lor arh also more flavourful.

pining chicken

pining chicken

puning chicken was really poor, and i ordered 1 whole chicken as we had 11pax! waste of money, any chicken rice stall would offer better chicken. my wife said my own homecooked chicken was better!

spinach tofu with shimeji mushrooms

spinach tofu with shimeji mushrooms

tecohew  dried scallop chinese cabbage dish

tecohew dried scallop chinese cabbage dish

teochew cha kuay teow

teochew cha kuay teow

the teochew mixed vegetables with dried scallops & the broccoli spinach tofu with shimeji mushrooms were good, and the teochew plain char kuay teow with chye poh was super, very good wok hae! there were 2 vegetarians among us by practice.they didn’t take the scallop but were ok with & enjoyed the dish. 🙂

i did not order any fish & prawns as they were very expensive. red garoupa was S$11/100g & tread fin tail was S$8/100g. i think most restaurants would do garoupa at S$8/100g or S$9/100g!

overall, i thought chui huay lim had turned very expensive for very average food. much better to do lee kui (ah hoi), muliangzai liang kee & swa gardens etc which have comparable food at lower prices. i still have jumbo$ though but will probably go to jumbo outlets rather than chui huay lim.

c.h.e.f andy

Good Quality Lunch Kaiseki @ Hachi on 17Jan2014

kobachi (amuse bouche)

kobachi (amuse bouche)

had a good quality lunch omakase at hachi with my wife on 17.1.2014. see also the excellent dinner omakase on 9.11.2013. 🙂

omakase is like a chef’s table, no menu but usually follows the course preparations for kaiseki. the chef selects the “freshest” ingredients of the day, checks whether you have dietary restrictions & supposedly dishes out an excellent meal to you…well they usually do..

we ordered the S$68pax lunch omakase & the S$88pax ohmi wagyu omakase.

#1 we had a very good amuse bouche of tofu toped with ikura & yuzu jelly.

sensai platter

sensai platter

sashimi moriawase (shima aji, tai, hamachi)

sashimi moriawase (shima aji, tai, hamachi)

#2 next we had a sensai (前菜) dish = tofu, sweet black beans, tasty egg plant, some vegetables & nice barley miso.

#3 a sashimi platter of shim aji, tai & hamachi followed. they were sweet & fresh, but not comparable with the sashimi in the superb kuriya dining lunch kaiseki we had on 16.11.2013.

miso soup with mochi & chicken

miso soup with mochi & chicken

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tempura

tempura

gohan (rice) set

gohan (rice) set

my wife took the lunch omakase.

#4 a tasty miso flavourful & intense was served, with chicken & kochi.

#5 then came a large oyster sashimi (S$12 ala carte). this was similar to what we had for the dinner omakase & it was very good. 🙂

#6 next was tempura, good quality batter, and #7 the gohan set.

ohmi wagyu tataki

ohmi wagyu tataki

shabu ohmi wagyu

shabu ohmi wagyu

shabu ohmi wagyu

shabu ohmi wagyu

grilled ohmi wagyu

grilled ohmi wagyu

grilled ohmi wagyu

grilled ohmi wagyu

wagyu gohan set

wagyu gohan set

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for my ohmi wavy omakase, i had #4 ohmi wagyu tataki. it was good, very sweet & tasty.

#5 i liked the shabu ohmi wagyu as well. its like the korean bulgogi or gyudon sliced beef but good quality & w/o the overpowering teriyaki sauce. 🙂

#6 there was also the grilled ohmi wagyu steak. the wagyu was not very marbled, but still very enjoyable & my wife preferred less marbled wagyu.

#7 the gohan set had wagyu tips, small chopped pieces. a very nice rice indeed. i though maybe i could try this dish at home actually to complete a good meal. 🙂

kuro goma (black sesame) ice cream

kuro goma (black sesame) ice cream

#8 we had the black sesame ice cream – must say i was getting tired of this or the macha ice cream & would have preferred yuzu flavour instead. 🙂

i would still rate kuriya dining’s S$58 kaiseki lunch over hachi’s S$68 omakase but not by much really, so i would go back for both. if one has a fix for ohmi wagyu i guess the wagyu omakase (which i do) is an excellent choice, otherwise the S$20 upgrade to tokusen sashimi at kuriya dining would be the one i go for.

c.h.e.f andy

Cool Walk along The Green Corridor (KAP to Rail Mall) on 16Jan2014

DSCN5912

bridge over bukit timah & dunnearn road

my weekly jogging partner & i thought of starting some activities among friends who meet often for makan. i did a really fun HK eat & hike trip in may2013 with 3 other friends. but we can do some of these fun things in singapore too that cost next to nothing.

another friend was clearing leave & suggested we do a short walk along the green corridor from king albert park to rail mall & back.  we parked our cars at KAP on 16.1.2014 & started the walk from the rail bridge from bukit timah road side. this is a period of cooler weather & we started the walk about 7.30am. it was really pleasant walk. 🙂

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the green corridor (rifle range)

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bamboo tree

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the friend who initiated this walk is far more educated in flora & fauna than the 2 of us. 🙂 i couldn’t recognise many trees but we spotted this nicely fanned-out bamboo behind some newer terrace houses along rifle range road.

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bukit timah radio tower

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& in the distance was the bukit timah radio tower.

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it was a weekday (thurs). there were only few joggers & people walking dogs.

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i managed to zoom up 20m & captured this flower on a wildly shaking hand (due to the zoom). 🙂

yellow flame

yellow flame

& we saw a few of the yellow flames (i think!).

getting out to rail mall (fuyong estate)

getting out to rail mall (fuyong estate)

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dairy farm nature park

our friend led the way – getting to the road to rail mall (fuyong estate) to singapore quarry & mountain cycling track (dairy farm nature park).

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singapore quarry was quite nice, calm & nice reflections.

bird's nest 30m up

bird’s nest 30m up

on the way down to rail mall, our friend’s eagle eyes spotted a bird’s nest 30m up.

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& there is a halia (ginger) plant infested & 1/2 eaten up by beetles.

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we took some photos at the disused rail bridge at the rail mall.

rail mall

rail mall

the we trooped to the makan places to have our breakfast.

nasi lemak at toastbox @ rail mall

nasi lemak at toastbox @ rail mall

i had the S$6.10 nasi lemak set with coffee – only rice not as good as adam road the rest (chicken wing, ikan bilis, chilli) just as good.

peanut butter thick toast set

peanut butter thick toast set

1 friend had the peanut butter thick toast set.

the entire walk was 7km+ & took 2hr+. a very pleasant cool walk & nice breakfast.

c.h.ef andy

Reset Your Point of Happiness

reading tan chade meng’s  (google’s “jolly good fellow”, his official title, & personal growth pioneer) book “search inside yourself”, about emotional intelligence.

interesting book.

he talked about a set point for happiness which we can train our minds to reset – that when he was young, the resting state was “unhappy”…if nothing good happened, by default he was unhappy..now it’s reverse, if nothing bad happens, he is happy! 🙂

the important takeaway is of course that one can reset the emotional resting state…& that emotional skills are trainable & free us from “emotional compulsion”. in the book meng quoted viktor frankl “between stimulus & response there is a space. in that space lies our freedom and our power to choose our response. in our response lies our growth & our happiness”

the emotional skills also help us develop calmess & a deep sense of well being…so that happiness maybe an “unavoidable side effect” of cultivating emotional intelligence. other side effects may include resilience, optimism & kindness. if one’s resting state is “happy” & “calm”, then one is naturally having a favourable view of life & so optimistic, less reactive to hurdles & failures & so resilient, and also in naturally expansive mood & so kind. 🙂

my blogging is all about happiness…like prayers (i am not christian) my blogging is to constantly remind myself of the good things in life, to relish, treasure & reminiscent. as in an earlier post, “grateful for what we have” opens our hearts, makes us appreciative, caring, generous, see the positives about ourselves & others & not stifled by negative emotions. it also has us enjoying the process, as in an earlier post “live to eat”..

& the recurring theme of perspective…when we change our perspective (reset the point of happiness), we see the world in different light..1/2 full not 1/2 empty…as was said in the same post, 退一步海阔天空 or 山穷水尽疑无路, 柳暗花明又一村…its all about perspective! 🙂

c.h.e.f andy

Very Average Buffet (Citibank 1 for 1) @ Olive Tree on 15Jan2014

crayfish & scallops

crayfish & scallops

6 of us went to olive tree for the citibank 1 for 1 S$68pax weekday buffet on 15.1.2014. i had not been to this place for umpteen years, so thought gave it a try. the evening was fun but the food was very average, not expensive at S$34pax=S$40nett, but i agreed with my “fussy” friend = no need to spend S$40 on average food even though price was ok. 🙂

snails & flower crabs

snails & flower crabs

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the cold crayfish & scallops were not sweet (or like tasteless?) but quite ok if you add the hot sauce & tabasco (which means…)…the same with the cold flower crabs (nothing like teochew cold crab)..i took them with wasabi so it was ok..

the snails were good & oysters good too (i had 3 of each)..but 2 of my friends had bad tummy afterwards though i was ok.

sashimi (kajiki, sake, tako)

sashimi (kajiki, sake, tako)

the biggest letdown was sashimi! the photo above looked great, and i was telling my friend who didn’t take sashimi much that kajiki (swordfish) was 1 of my favourites & got him to take 2 pieces from my plate, but as it turned out it was the worst, completely tasteless! likewise the salmon. tako was average, not the good sweet ones.

chicken sausage risone

chicken sausage risoni

prawn salad

prawn salad

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cold pasta & salad station

the cold pasta & salad station was among the best. but this was also a station that most people gave a miss w/o trying.  the spicy prawn salad was great & the chicken sausage risoni as well.

prawn noodles

prawn noodles

prawn noodles station

prawn noodles station

the prawn noodles station was self service which suited me fine as i took very little noodles & a lot of bean sprouts, prawns & fishcake & just enough of soup. i liked the very intense soup & had a 2nd helping, but i agreed with my “fussy” friend that the soup was too salty. 🙂

i also had some nasi padang dishes. the beef rending sambal chilli & ikan bilis with peanuts all quite average.

lamb, duck & dory fish

lamb, duck & dory fish

i skipped most cooked food stations in buffet (& that’s the reason i prefer semi-buffet places like the excellent one ninety, equinox & basilico where the main courses are served separately as fine dining dishes.

for olive tree though, i must say i liked all 3 main courses = braised lamb, duck & dory, all good dishes.

rojak

rojak

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cheese

cheese

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there was self service rojak station as well. i liked this too. & i had a helping of cheese. there was kikarangi, a light kiwi blue cheese i used to like. today somehow it was not so pungent, perhaps i have forgotten the taste..my “fussy” friend added – everything was not quite right..haha…we do all affect each other. 🙂

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dessert

i not much dessert person so i found nothing in the wide array of dessert. the coconut & durian ice creams were very good though!

the restaurant was sadly only 30% full on a wednesday evening, so many of us were saying the cold seafood & sashimi were left-overs. anyway it sure looked like a lot of wastage!

the ambience was great except an untimely lion dance, which 1 friend described as louder than MS in a tennis grand slam (that was supposedly louder than a airplane landing). fortunately it was over in 10minutes.

the service was very good though. we were first seated in a corner & like all kiasu singaporeans we decided to park ourselves next to the cold appetiser station, but the lady server rearranged the tables to let us sit near but slightly off the station which was better.

the buffet also came with coffee, cappuccino, camomile tea etc.

i would rate this buffet below The Edge, but this was substantially cheaper at S$34 (only with the 1 for 1), but for me like my friend, the price was ok i won’t really come back here for this. equinox & one ninety are still the (semi) buffets for me. 🙂

c.h.e.f. andy

Crab Linguine in Pink Sauce (Creamy Tomatoes)

crab linguine in pink sauce with medium prawns & pan-seared scallops

crab linguine in pink sauce with medium prawns & pan-seared scallops

bought some frozen crab claws from giant, thought to try out the excellent mud crab cold pasta i had at au jardin on new year eve but had yet to do. 🙂

had sudden inspiration (心血来潮) to cook a crabmeat linguine in pink sauce, & since i had the other ingredients like hokkaido scallops, medium prawns, canned tomatoes etc, it was easy to do.

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i used the same crabmeat pasta in pink sauce recipe i did almost a year ago in mar2013. the pink sauce looked & tasted yummy.

i had earlier sauteed an entire clove of garlic bulbs in olive oil (full of aroma) & set aside. i then fried in butter medium prawns that were shelled, butterflied & deveined. after i cooked the linguine to just below al dente (just below the 11mins instructions on the packet) & drained, I pan-seared the hokkaido scallops over a very hot pan greased with vegetable oil.

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crab linguine in pink sauce with medium prawns & pan-seared scallops

crab linguine in pink sauce with medium prawns & pan-seared scallops

the last step was just to toss the pasta with the sauce & ingredients & add some sugar (or agave nectar) & sea salt to taste.

the result was brilliant, the best pink sauce pasta i have made so far, not that i made so many, maybe just 4 or 5 times. 🙂

c.h.e.f. andy

S$19pax Indian Buffet Lunch @ Yantra on 9Jan2014

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this a quick update.

had lunch with couple old RI friends at yantra at tanglin mall on 9.1.2014.  i had lunch at yantra couple of times previously, on 1.8.2013 & before that on 10.6.2013. ambience was great & food was quite good & great value at S$19pax for mon-thurs buffet lunch. 🙂

the server placed a dish with garlic naans & tandoori roti on our table. i generally like both indian vegetarian & non vegetarian dishes & eating garlic naans & tandoori roti with the sauces & dahl. 🙂

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garlic naans & tandoori roti

garlic naans & tandoori roti

at our age we should be avoiding heavy buffet meals, but actually what was important was just picking the dishes one liked & having a moderate amount of it.  i picked couple of murgh (chicken) dishes, a lamb rogan gosht, and some battered prawns & had 1/2 naan & 1/2 roti. didn’t see paneer & fish dishes this time.the prawns were excellent & i had a second helping afterwards plus some vege dish & <1 tablespoon basmati rice, before taking some fruits. so lunch was in fact quite ok, not too heavy but nice tasty food.

we adjourned to the B1 foodcourt for a nice cuppa afterwards. very pleasant lunch, company & conversation. 🙂

c.h.e.f andy

Quality Lunch Sets @ Sun with Moon at Wheelock on 7Jan2014

beef don with kaisen (seafood) hotplate set

beef don with kaisen (seafood) hotplate set

son was flying back to london in the evening. we wanted to go for a quick family lunch. kuriya dining was full so we decided to go sun with moon at wheelock on 7.1.2014.

beef don

beef don

kaisen (seafood) hot plate

kaisen (seafood) hot plate

salmon sashimi

salmon sashimi

plum jelly & grapes

plum jelly & grapes

there were wide choices of lunch sets which were reasonably priced. my son & i picked the S$21.80 mini beef don with kaisen (seafood) hotplate, and added S$3.50 for 3 pieces of salmon sashimi.

the beef don was excellent, very tasty & good helping of beef. i always like dons especially chirashi don anyway. 🙂 the seafood pot included 3 pieces of unagi (eel), 2 large cut of salmon & 1 scallop. it was tasty too. the salmon sashimi was excellent, better than those served at good buffet, of sushi counter standard. 🙂

the ume (plum) jelly was good.

sushi & pork nabe set

sushi & pork nabe set

my daughter had the sushi A set (i think also S$21.80) which came with a pork nabe, again a good helping of shabu (thin sliced) pork which was good. the sushi looked ok but not great.

beef & tori (chicken) kamameshi (釜饭) set

beef & tori (chicken) kamameshi (釜饭) set

beef & tori (chicken) kamameshi (釜饭)

beef & tori (chicken) kamameshi (釜饭)

my wife had beef & tori (chicken) kamameshi (釜饭). i wasn’t a fan of kamameshi but this was very fragrant.like my wife said the kaisen kamameshi were average but this beef & chicken one had great flavours infused with the rice. excellent dish but cost a fair bit more at S$28. i would not select this myself but it was a good combination with other sets as we shared some of the food. 🙂

overall, i think sun with moon lunch sets offered quality & quite good value in the <$30 range. for higher priced sets, i would go for the S$48/S$58 mini kaiseki lunch at kuriya dining,  or the lunch sets or ala carte at mikuni with 50% feed at raffles discounts. 🙂

c.h.e.f. andy

New Year Resolution 1Jan2014

live everyday as if it were your last..

someone asked me on new year day when i said “i better do this” regards some matter – is that your new year resolution? i laughed & replied “better not, otherwise i may break it”..haha..

chefquak

chefquak

still reflecting on this new year resolution thingy, i do want to continue to spend more time with family & friends, to cook for them & to share views & insights & interests, to relish the moments & to treasure the memories... 🙂

one thing i read in the book “the monk who sold his ferrari” is something i can try to emulate-

shortly after you have awakened, go into your sanctuary of silence. get still and focused. then ask yourself this question: “what would I do if today were my last?”. The key is to really get into the meaning of this question. mentally list all the things you would do, the people you would call, and the moments you would savour. envision yourself doing all these things with great energy. visualize how you would treat your family and your friends, and even total strangers, if today were your last day on earth. When you live everyday as if it is your last, your life will take on a magical quality….

in the end, all of us human beings want the same things, happiness for ourselves & those we care for (and by extension, the lives we touch & all humanity)..it is for each of us to find his own path & share with others on the same…

c.h.e.f. andy

Fabulous New Year Eve Dinner Degustation @ Au Jardin on 31Dec2013

wagyu striploin marbling score 5 rare

wagyu striploin marbling score 5 rare

au jardin new year eve degustation menu

au jardin new year eve degustation menu

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wanted to buy my wife a nice new year eve dinner, and saw the quite attractive menu in au jardin’s website, so decided to make a reservation for 2pax dinner on 31.12.2013.

we had couple of degustation dinners at au jardin many years back (my wife said 10 years ago). they were like 8-course priced at S$200pax  & were really good. i had considered trying the S$150pax table d’hote  (ie prix fixe)menu, but never did. subsequently, the regular menu did not look attractive as it does not today (ie 4-course at S$150pax), so i did not do dinner at au jardin but only occasional lunches (especially the recent maybank 1 for 1 promotion set lunch).

my wife & I generally have the practice not to dine out during public holidays, festive periods, mothers’ day etc as those occasions were very commercilaised & one often ended up paying through the nose (like 50% – 100% more) & getting poor food & poor service. anyhow for this new year eve dinner, au jardin served a 7-course+amuse bouche dinner at $198pax which was no difference in price from 10 years ago & far better menu than the regular S$150pax course menu, so the arrangement suited us fine.

i just wonder why they don’t do such menu regularly, especially when their business had not been good, and they are closing down by 31.3.2014 as a result of huge rental increase (& to me perhaps poor strategy & marketing). sign!

i do not rate au jardin degustation as better than the creative & excellent degustation at Jaan which cost only S$119pax after 50% feed at raffles discount, however one need a change of menu & environment, and most degus restaurants like iggy’s, gunthers etc are far more expensive. others like keystone & saint pierre are a little cheaper but not as fine, and private affairs had closed down.

wife ordered a red. it was expensive, 1/2 bottle for S$85++, but it was a grand cru classe & was really nice though i took maybe 30ml.

amuse bouche - foie gras terrine

amuse bouche – foie gras terrine

blue fin tuna ceviche

blue fin tuna ceviche

cold pasta with mud crab, caviar & uni

cold pasta with mud crab, caviar & uni

iberico pork cheeks, joselito proscuito, egg confit & winter truffles

iberico pork cheeks, joselito proscuito, egg confit & winter truffles

dover sole with razor clam & clam emulsion

dover sole with razor clam & clam emulsion

the 7-course dinner (+amuse bouche) came with 4 appetisers, 1 palate cleanser, 1 main, 1 dessert; as well as coffee & petit fours.

we had a warm bread basket. both the baguette & a raisin bread were good. the amuse bouche was a foie gras terrine with tobiko (flying fish roe) & jelly. this wasn’t exceptional & but still a great start to the evening dinner. 🙂

1st course was blue fin tuna ceviche with tobiko. it was nothing inventive, but very sweet & tasty.

the 2nd course, cold pasta with mud crab, caviar & sea urchin, was heavenly, par excellence. it way surpassed gordon grill’s (no comparison really as gordon grill’s was for a S$48pax lunch) & according to my wife likewise c/w gunther’s. 🙂

the 3rd course was a braised iberico pork cheek, with joselito proscuito, egg confit & winter truffle. sous vide low temperature poached egg is a regular feature in fine dining & i really loved the texture enhancement it gave to the dish, the proscuito was excellent, pork cheek so-so & i had already written about the excellent winter truffle here. 🙂

the 4th course was a lightly breaded dover sole served with razor clam & clam emulsion. the dover sole was ok, tender, i guess considered good in a good restaurant, but really average dish by comparison to other courses. the razor clam was great. 🙂

palate cleanser - watermelon, sorbet & lime jelly

palate cleanser – watermelon, sorbet & lime jelly

wagyu striploin marbling score 5 rare

wagyu striploin marbling score 5 rare

pistachio cake, green tea soil, raspberry sorbet

pistachio cake, green tea soil, raspberry sorbet

next we had the palate cleanser – a watermelon confit with sorbet & lime jelly. it was good.

the grilled wagyu striploin MBS5 rare (top photo & second above) was excellent. this was much better than what i did at home. it was done rare & yet totally charred (for maillard reaction that gave flavour to the beef) & served with carrot & root vegetables and a tiny piece of black garlic. superb! 🙂

for dessert, we had pistachio cake with raspberry sorbet. the cake was bland but when taken together with the slightly sour sorbet, it was good. 🙂

my cappuccino was great. the petit fours though was miserable (same as they served for set lunches). mini macarons were too sweet, chocolate was ok.

overall we had an excellent evening of food, wine & conversation. Jaan’s degustation gave far better value.nevertheless i enjoyed this dinner very much & would come back but regrettably they do not serve this in their regular menu. i may consider trying ala carte or their course menu. not sure for now!

happy new year everyone!

happy new year everyone!

and before signing off, happy new year 2014 to all my friends, readers & everyone!

c.h.e.f. andy