Great Value Alacarte Semi-buffet (Beyond Expectations) @ Tim Palace SAFRA Toa Payoh on 24Nov2015

roast duck, char siew & roast pork 烧味

roast duck, char siew & roast pork 烧味

went with my sis & b-i-l to tim palace @ SAFRA toa payoh to try out their ala carte semi-buffet on 24.11.2015.

buffet is S$25.80pax. the added attraction is S$5 discounts for SC aka senior citizens! ^^

there’s a S$2pax for water, tea & peanuts (S$2.50pax or more if other drinks). so it was S$22.80pax for 3 of us, S$27nett each.

tim palace

tim palace

tim palace is at level 3 of SAFRA toa payoh clubhouse building.

tim palace

tim palace

it is quite large in capacity, good for functions, tour groups??

roast duck, char siew & roast pork station

roast duck, char siew & roast pork station

i did not have high expectation of the roast meat 烧味 station.

but surprise, surprise, the roast duck was really, really good! very flavourful.

char siu

char siu

so was the char siu!. i think this one of the best char siu i had. as good as the excellent chargrilled pork neck at imperial treasure nanbei or (better in fact than) any other good char siu places.

roast duck - second helping

roast duck - second helping

i actually went for a second helping of roast duck, after taking the other food! 🙂

roast duck, char siew & roast pork 烧味

roast duck, char siew & roast pork 烧味

i was quite tempted to taste the salt baked chicken 盐炬鸡, but really no space left. sigh!

appetizer station

appetizer station

nothing much to say about the cold station. prawns was large, plump, fresh & sweet.

scallops & mussels all the frozen type, nothing worth taking.

appetizer station

appetizer station

the scallop tips (front) were quite nice. the prawn & squid salad were ok. sos so la!

cold flower crabs

cold flower crabs

the flower crabs were soft, mushy “nua nua”, the frozen type, not worth taking also. all these i took very little just to try.

sushi/sashimi station

sushi/sashimi station

salmon sashimi was ok. quite sweet. colour didn’t look that great.

i skipped the sushi.

appetizers

appetizers

so, mainly prawn was good, salmon sashimi ok too, squid/prawn salad & scallop tips passable.

braised small abalone with brocoli

braised small abalone with broccoli

i ordered most of the dishes that they allowed only one order.

small abalone with broccoli was good restaurant standard. no complaints. 🙂

sharksfin soup

sharksfin soup

sharksfin soup was better than most cheaper sharksfin soup, not very gluey & stock quite tasty.

sea cucumber with yam

sea cucumber with yam

sea cucumber with yam was decent competent dish.

scallops & celery in xo sauce

scallops & celery in xo sauce

the scallops & celery in xo sauce was pretty good.

crayfish

crayfish

crayfish was poor!

crayfish

crayfish

meat has no taste. this dish (thumbs down)!

char siu pao

char siew pao

we did not order the char siew pao, but somehow it was marked on the order sheet, the marking very different from our order markings, think some previous customers marked on it.

anyway no big deal, so we took it. the char siu pao were good!

steamed seabass with sambal sauce

steamed seabass with sambal sauce

i read that the deep-fried flower garoupa not so good, so we ordered the steamed seabass with sambal sauce.

steamed seabass with sambal sauce

steamed seabass with sambal sauce

seabass not such a great fish. but this preparation quite ok…so again a competent dish. maybe i will try the garoupa next time. don’t mind coming back again. 🙂

honey ribs

honey ribs

the honey ribs were ordinary. as good as any zi char stall i suppose. not my favourite.

honey ribs

honey ribs

cannot really criticise thsi dish, but the char siu was many times better than this.

drunken prawns

drunken prawns

surprisingly also the drunken prawns was very good. must be a very good quality shaoxing wine 绍兴酒.

braised lamb pot

braised lamb pot

the braised lamb pot was competent dish, but no more.

lamb still retain the gamey taste, and not specially flavourful.

braised lamb pot

braised lamb pot

i would say it’s a robust dish like a beef stew, so unless the herbs & preparation is special (like say at majestic), it’s not a dish i am particularly fond of.

dessert station

dessert station

dessert station the usual fare, with fruits, custard puffs & red bean pan cake etc.

sea coconut & longans

sea coconut & longans

i took the sea coconut…quite refreshing.

lotus seed red beans dessert

lotus seed red beans dessert

and a bit of the lotus seed red beans dessert. pretty ok.

the food quality & cooking were pretty ok, not that much different from (i would say better actually) say peach garden miramar’s ala carte buffet, and certainly better than the ala carte buffet at ban heng orchard central.

the outstanding dishes for me here were the roast duck, char siu(tops), drunken prawns, abalone.

the sea cucumber & scallops were pretty good.

c.h.e.f andy

++++++++++++++++++

Tim Palace

Address : 293 Lorong 6 Toa Payoh #03-01 Safra Club Singapore 319387
Hotline : 6253 5515 (Reservation is needed on Saturday and Sunday)
Fax : 6253 0266
Email : timpalace@gimtim.com.sg

OPENING HOURS:

Mon – Fri: 11:30 – 14:00; 18:00 – 22:00

Sat, Sun & PH: 11:00 – 14:30; 18:00 – 22:00

 

 

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Expensive & Very Average Chirashi Don @ Tatsu Asia Square 2 on 7Nov2014

aji sashimi

aji sashimi – S$35

had a 5pax family dinner for a special occasion at tatsu asia square 2 on 7.11.2014. 🙂

daughter was keen to explore the different chirashi don. decided to try this place even though i was not impressed with the photo of the S$40 chirashi don on the website menu.

since we were there, might as well try some of their recommendations.

aji sashimi

aji sashimi – S$35

years ago (almost 20years coming to think of it), my wife & i used to enjoy mezzanine japanese food at the sushi counter with 50% hyatt card. the aji sashimi usually cost about S$45 for the whole fish before discount. & before that, even earlier we had great aji sashimi at unkai at nassim hill, can’t remember the hotel now but i think it was at the current site of ‘the nassim’ (condo).

i don’t know the current price of aji sashimi at sushi restaurants as seldom take now, but S$35 seemed reasonable (though at first the server say S$25 to S28 depending on size, but later became S$35).

the aji did not disappoint. it was very sweet. the presentation though was somewhat disappointing. i told the server they should serve the sashimi as a whole fish like most sushi bar & also in japan, but i get it that they might be offering what they thought was good service by serving up the flesh & having the bones deep-fried. usually sushi bars would serve the sliced sashimi with the fishbones whole, then when you finish the sashimi they would take it away to deep-fry. unkai even did it better by “pengkang” i.e. bbq which was not as convenient as deep-fried but tasted a lot better. 🙂

deep fried aji head & bones

deep fried aji head & bones

deep fried aji head & bones

deep fried aji head & bones

we ate up the deep-fried fish head & bones.

gyu tataki

gyu tataki – S$15

gyu tataki

gyu tataki – S$15

gyu tataki was a recommended dish, it was good & a dish i would order if i come again (not likely though!).

kaisen chirashi don

kaisen chirashi don – S$40

kaisen chirashi don

kaisen chirashi don – S$40

the menu showed kaizen (海鲜) chirashi don as S$40 & aburi (torched or flamed) don as S$50. i asked the server & she confirmed that both had exact same ingredients. i guess one needed to pay for the labour & torch. we decided to order 3 chirashi don.

i would say this was a huge disappointment (which was not unexpected i having seen the website photo). it was a good chirashi of course. the fish were fresh & sweet. they were very thin slices though & w/o any quality sashimi cuts.

compare this with the chirashi don at mikuni which has 2 pieces otoro, botan ebi, uni at S$45 (after 50% feed at raffles discounts). actually there was just nothing to compare! or the S$20 chirashi don set at ginza kuroson.  granted kuroson’s is only for lunch & the sashimi cuts were just as thin. or with the sashimi & unagi don set at sun with moon.

i have not yet tried the chirashi don at flying squirrel & sushi kou, but they are around S$25 & it looks to me the quality would be better than here at tatsu.

salmon skin temaki

salmon skin temaki

the salmon skin temaki was also a recommended dish. it was simple but nice & tasty.

crayfish teppanyaki

crayfish teppanyaki – S$28

crayfish teppanyaki

crayfish teppanyaki – S$28

seafood fried rice

seafood fried rice – S$13

our helper does not take raw fish. so we ordered a seafood fried rice plus a crayfish teppanyaki. these were good restaurant standard. though the japanese preparation with lots of mayo not my favourite.

tenderloin teppanyaki

tenderloin teppanyaki – S$28

aburi salmon maki

aburi salmon maki

my other daughter ordered a beef tenderloin and a aburi salmon maki. tenderloin was 200g size & quite tasty. & the maki was again good standard.

banoffee cake

banoffee cake

we got back home for the banoffee cake which i made for the occasion.

the cake was quite perfect this time, not so sweet with a bit more bananas, very well balanced cake.

c.h.e.f andy

Wife Cooked Excellent Crayfish Pasta & Shakshuka on 13Jul2014

pink sauce crayfish pasta

pink sauce crayfish pasta

wife cooked an incredible crayfish linguine in pink sauce aka creamy tomato sauce on 13.7.2014.

wife served the linguine separately so everyone could add the amount of pasta they wish & then pile on the crayfish & sauce. i contributed the linguine actually, done al dente. 🙂 it was an excellent pasta dish and a beauty to behold! 🙂

shakshuka

shakshuka

shakshuka

shakshuka

pink sauce crayfish pasta

pink sauce crayfish pasta

another dish wife prepared was the israeli breakfast shashuka. it was pretty good too, and looked nice with the eggs & tomatoes. yellow onions provided the sweetness base & the tomatoes the mildly sour sweet flavours, the eggs & yolks offered added texture & colours. 🙂

shashuka will never be really a favourite for me, but this was quite a good dish & a great accompaniment to the crayfish pasta. 🙂

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

Good Teochew Zi Char @ Mu Liang Zai Liang Kee on 12Nov2013

braised duck & tau kua

braised duck & tau kua

6 of us had teochew zi char at muliang zai liang kee on 12.11.2013.  few of us started a hawker & zi char tour some months back. it was mostly touch & go. the zi char at kok sen @ keong siak street was very good. woh hup @ hong lim was quite poor it was not worth a post!

mu liang zai liang kee is located along the same row of shophouses along havelock road at the opposite end of g7 liangkee. it is owned by the 5th son of ng bak liang (so  木亮仔=son of bak liang).  you can read the story of the 3 liang kee here.

we had a very enjoyable dinner, true tecohew comfort food, mostly good standard & tasty & at very affordable prices, w/o service & gst. we had 8 dishes adding up to S$136, about S$22+pax nett. 🙂

ter kar tan - pork trotters jelly (猪脚冻)

ter kar tan – pork trotters jelly (猪脚冻)

hae chor (虾枣)& liver roll (肝花)

hae chor (虾枣)& liver roll (肝花)

deep-fried tofu with minced pork (金牌豆腐)

deep-fried tofu with minced pork (金牌豆腐)

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yellow chives with prawns

yellow chives with prawns

chilli crayfish

chilli crayfish

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orh nee (芋泥)

orh nee (芋泥)

the pork trotters jelly (猪脚冻) was just ok, competent. imperial treasure, crystal jade & chui huay lim versions were much better. it was cheap though, a large portion for S$10.

the hae chor (虾枣) & liver roll (肝花) were quite good, no much different from other teochew restaurants.

the braised sliced duck was surprisingly good. i did not expect much as many teochew restaurant like huat kee had very average (or poor) braised duck, and the braised goose we had recently at chui huay lim was poor c/w with this duck. still i very much prefer eating the style of braised duck like the 1/2 duck for S$28 at imperial treasure c/w this tiny plate of sliced duck for S$18. that was just my personal taste preference though.

the deep-fried tofu with minced pork (金牌豆腐) was excellent, equal to that at kok sen.

the orh nerng or oyster egg was an average & passable dish (passable in both senses – not failed OR can skip). like good teochews the few of us still preferred the sticky orh luar version with sweet potato flour at hawker centres.

the yellow chives with prawns (S$18) came with 7 large prawns. the prawns were large, fresh & springy, so it was not a bad prawn dish. it was though a bad yellow chives dish, no wok hae & swimming in sauce. it should be much dryer with strong wok hae flavour. 🙂

the crayfish (S$28) i did not consider a well done dish (though some of my diner friends were obviously relishing it).  i preferred the ah orh version of teochew crayfish with yellow onions & egg. the crayfish itself were plump, bouncy & tasty. not quite sure what chilli it was, not sambal & not really chilli crab chilli, though it did go well with the steamed buns.

the orh nee (芋泥) was good too – another pleasant surprise!

overall it was a good dinner for S$22nett. will be back again!

c.h.e.f andy

Dinner Gathering for 10pax @ Yuanxing Restaurant (Guan Hin) on 19Mar2013

longevity bun for the 55s

longevity bun for the 55s

the significance of 55

the significance of 55

We had a gathering of 10 friends the other evening. One friend did a make-shift “gold-plated” 55 sign and also arranged for the restaurant to serve longevity buns 寿桃 -(a nice touch!) – this being the 55th season of our journey on planet earth – though we could not help speculating which houses and/or shops might have number(s) 5 missing. 🙂

None of us had heard of Yuanxing Teochew Restaurant..it turned out to be Guan Hin, an old street name (老字号) which now uses the hanyupinyin name.

We started off with the usual appetizer platter. The ter kar tan (pork trotter jelly 猪脚冻) was very good here – I reckoned Crystal Jade Paragon standard and better than Chui Huay Lim and a few other teochew restaurants I had tried..The other items – spring rolls, hae jor & another deep-fried item which I don’t know the name – were good too. The jellyfish & century egg were usual fare.

IMG_3464

appertizer platter

Next came the ubiquitous yam basket. This is more of a common cantonese restaurant dish – anyway supposedly hailed from the 4 heavenly kings of cantonese cuisine from the sixties, and still being contested by both Dragon Phoenix and Lai Wah each claiming to be the rightful inventor.. 🙂

IMG_3467

the ubiquitous yam basket

Next came some deep-fried meatballs? – I haven’t a clue what it was – quite good tasting, so ok lah..the garlic fried kailan was quite ok, got some wok hae though not near the best..(the picture on the left below is a close-up of the ter kar tan猪脚冻)

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We had braised goose (卤鹅) next. This was very good. It was real goose and NOT braised duck served in most restaurants (unlike Hong Kong where it is everywhere, goose braised or roasted, are not commonly served in restaurants in Singapore). Why is that I wonder? bird-flu? Hongkongers more resistant or tidak apa towards bird-flu?

IMG_3470

braised goose – yummy!

Next came a deep-fried chestnut prawn. This was their signature dish. hmmm, I wonder..not sure the chestnut added anything to the prawn & might have taken away the fresh, plump, sweet-tasting feel of a usual good prawn dish..

IMG_3471

deep-fried chestnut prawns

We had the usual roast chicken. and taken with five-spice salt, it was quite nice – though it is rare in most restaurants that serve this dish to deliver one that has moist, tender, sweet breast meat – usually it is on the dry, sinewy side & not s0 tender, and so it was the case here.

The kong ba pao was quite ok here, the usual and a nice dish to enjoy, if packing high calories & cholesterol.

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The mustard greens with chinese mushroom and gluten was a very nice dish, great texture and very tasty indeed. I would certainly order this, as well as the braised goose & ter kar tan 猪脚冻 when I next visit.

mustard vegetable with chinese mushrooms

mustard greens with chinese & button mushrooms & gluten

Next we had these huge slipper lobsters (we call crayfish in Singapore). This apparently is also a signature dish here, though I am not a fan of the sauce (which was like a non-spicy chilli crab sauce) – I prefer the one served at Ah Orh which is a more yellowish sauce with lots of yellow onions & egg – and I thought the meat was overcooked and not tender.

IMG_3474

a slipper lobster dish

And to round up the sumptuous meal & an evening of F3=food, fun & feel-good, we had the sea coconut & longans – nice dessert, though the few teochews among us were wondering why we were not having orh nee..hahaha..I guess the friend who organised this great dinner was worrying about our cholesterol & waistlines..lol. 🙂

IMG_3477

sea coconut with longans dessert

The “damage” came to just $36nett per person, though we were missing some big-ticket dishes like pomfret, soup & cold crab or other crab dishes.

One friend, the teochew expert among us, who never fail to enthrall us with his own remarkable romanised teochew language system, commented afterwards on Facebook that the standard of food here was not consistent. On the face of what was served & the price though, I would still give it another go sometime.

c.h.e.f andy