8pax Ala Carte Lohei Dinner @ Mitzo Grand Park Orchard on 3Mar2015

lohei

lohei

a friend organised a lohei dinner at mitzo, grand park orchard on 3.3.2015. 🙂

don’t think i have even stepped into this hotel since crown prince hotel was sold to the park hotel group in 2005. vaguely remember there was some ala carte buffet at long jiang restaurant here back then eons ago.

coming out of the lift on level 4, the entrance was a bit hidden, right at the end of the hall way.

place looked atas, with a japanese sounding name mitzo, and the waiting staff including at the welcome counter were mostly foreigners, took us a while to spot a singaporean. we were served by a spanish guy. must say the service was very polite & cheerful, and the staff were well trained.

it was only later that i read that mitzo was supposedly inspired by “mat zoe” 蜜枣 – honey dates used in cantonese double boiled soup & lie tong 例汤。whatever.^^

mitzo is also apparently positioned as an inventive cocktail bar, serving some cocktails from a teapot. 🙂

lohei

lohei

there were 8 of us.

we ordered a medium lohei. the lady who served us was i think filipino, and she managed to say a few auspicious messages like 年年有鱼(余),大吉大利etc, and some of them in english translations. an interesting diversion was when she used a cocktail tumbler to mix the sweet sauce & oil, not that it would make any difference to the lohei.

c/w with the lohei at char, the amount of salmon here was a lot more, i think 2x more. in terms of taste though, char’s lohei was a lot tastier & more refreshing, and altogether more enjoyable.

here because the end result was a bit too dry, we asked for more sauce & lady came & added what looked like the char siew sauce instead of the sweet sauce & oil, the result was not the taste we associated with lohei.

roast pork

roast pork

roast pork

the roast pork was pretty good. i think better than char but it was quite standard & not a stand-out c/w any of tunglok, imperial treasure, crystal jade, canton paradise.

char siew

char siew

char siew

char siew

the char siew was good. it was featured in their website also i guess one of the signature dishes? it was tender moist flavourful, slightly different from the one at char, not necessarily better. for me though, i prefer this (char’s was unique but sauce slightly on the sweet side).

soft shell crab in curry floss

soft shell crab in curry floss

the spanish waiter recommended the soft shell crab in curry floss. in fact we ordered all his recommended dishes.^^

the curry soft shell crab was good, competent. i liked the curry flavour. though it was kind of unrelated, i just happened to be making a curry miso lamb that evening (which turned out to be fabulous) in the oven at 90degC then 80degC for 10hours while i was dining.

roast duck

roast duck

roast duck

roast duck

roast duck

roast duck

the roast duck with truffle was good too, a good restaurant standard. my favourite roast duck though is the one at canton paradise.

eggplant

eggplant

eggplant

eggplant

eggplant was good, competent.

fried rice

scallop, crabmeat, egg white fried rice

fried rice

scallop, crabmeat, egg white fried rice

the scallop, crabmeat, egg white fried rice though was a bit below par, not enough wok hae. this a dish that i always order in imperial treasure nanbei or imperial treasure teochew at taka, so it was rather poor by comparison.

the food was actually quite authentic & better than my first impression that we were walking into an expensive atas place to eat so-so chinese food. i guess we were quite full & ordered very few dishes for 8pax, so we only paid S$30pax for the dinner.

but from what i saw of the set dinner & ala carte prices e.g. 1/2 roast duck was S$36 c/w S$26 at canton paradise, this place is certainly quite a bit more expensive. again it’s not comparing apple with apple as the ambience & location are quite different. 🙂

this not my usual kind of place for cantonese food but i don’t rule out completely also. not coming back anytime soon la…

c.h.e.f andy

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Excellent Italian tapas @ Sons Bacaro on 4Oct2014

truflle pesto tagliatelle

truffle pesto tagliatelle – S$12

daughter picked sons bacaro for 6pax family dinner on 4.10.2014. she is far more happening than her old folks. 🙂

it was an excellent choice! food was good. 🙂 dishes were served in small plates, kind of like italian tapas.

the restaurant was by beppe devito. somehow i didn’t really fancy il lido much even with 50% for 2pax palate discounts (never tried it under palate actually) & it was “far away” in sentosa. maybe ought to consider trying some time.

the place was chic as advertised on its website, which also showed menu items & prices. not really buzzy on a saturday evening (same for other chic restaurants on nankin street), a pity but no complaints from us…haha! sons was less than 50% full, and interestingly the other 5 tables looked mostly family like us. 🙂

tagliata di manzo

tagliata di manzo wagyu – S$28

we had the wagyu tagliata. it was good, chargrilled flavourful, tender, medium rare. 🙂

baccala (salt cod) cake with uni sauce

baccala (salt cod) cake with uni sauce – S$15

baccala (salt cod) cake with uni sauce was the best dish of the night.  thin crispy crust was excellent, minced salt cod was excellent, and great uni sauce combination.

i would put the light cream, flavourful truffle pesto tagliatelle (top photo) as my second favourite for the night.  no feel of pesto though – not sure how a strong pesto flavour goes with subtle truffle scent.

roasted cod

roasted cod – S$19

the roasted cod was very good. my wife & i both made very good cod ourselves at home. this though had better grilled flavours.

grilled pork neck salad

grilled kurobuta pork neck, balsamic mushrooms – S$16

the grilled kurobuta pork neck was very good, like a good char siew or the charcoal broiled pork collar at imperial treasure teochew. maybe i should try & reinvent this dish at home again.

pork paccheri

iberico pork truffle paccheri – S$16

i liked the iberico pork truffle paccheri too. very agreeable but i preferred the truffle pesto if asked to choose.

burrata

burrata, asparagus cream – S$16

burrata was fine, nothing like the supreme version in valentino, after all that cost 3x more.

pasta with uni sauce

spaghetti with uni sauce carbonara – S$16

surprising the same uni sauce did not come out good on this carbonara dish. i would not order this.

potato & cheese ravioli

potato & cheese ravioli – S$9

looked like ah bor ling – mochi dumplings..cheese was very strong, not sure if blue cheese. anyway i liked blue cheese, but its not the most popular dish.

italian tapas

italian tapas

we had a S$55 bottle of wine, 2 beers & 1 mojito. dinner for 6pax came to S$260nett, about S$30nett pax excluding drinks, pretty ok. 🙂

service by the western servers were ok,  not too friendly, kind of unsmiling. one server kept filling water to the glasses, a good thing. 🙂

lunch is cheaper. S$10 pasta etc. the street is quite interesting with mad poets gastrobar, platypus gourmet etc. will go back again. 🙂

c.h.e.f andy

Chwee Kueh & Char Siew from Chinatown on 14Sep2014

char siew

char siew

wife went marketing at chinatown complex market today on 14.9.2014.

she also bought chwee kueh from our favourite stall bedok chwee kueh (#02-43) & char siew from the stall next to it, mayflower roasted meat specialist. 🙂

chwee kueh

chwee kueh

char siew

char siew

chwee kueh with chye por

chwee kueh with chye por

love the chwee kueh here. soft & firm texture & especially the chye por & chilli condiments. my habit is to cut the chwee kueh in 2 (a bitesize mouthful) using a teaspoon, spoon the chye pro & chilli on top & spoon the whole thing in to combine the flavours & texture. 🙂

the char siew was a convenient buy, probably not the best stall there, and often touch & go. today it was fresh, tasty with flavourful fatty bits. other times meat could be a bit dry. it was not comparable with imperial treasure teochew char siew OR charcoal broiled pork collar, and about the standard of a decent neighbourful coffeeshop roast meat stall.

c.h.e.f andy

Excellent Roast Duck (烧鸭) & Roast Pork (烧肉) in London @ Goldmine on 23Aug2014

1 whole boneless roast duck

1 whole boneless roast duck

goldmine is 1 of the favourite places my son & his friends go to for roast duck in london.

i came here once with my son 2 years back & wanted to try the place again. 🙂

the reviews were mostly good. we took the hammersmith line from king’s cross to edgeware road & changed to circle line to bayswater. goldmine was just 100m from the station & the street was lined with chinese restaurants including four seasons. i will probably try four seasons if i come again this trip, though not likely.

stepping into goldmine & seeing the 师傅 deboning the roast duck, one can see straight away that it was good. the roast pork looked amazing too. char siew looked ok. 🙂

son booked table of 5. only 2 of us were there. a son’s friend came shortly. the rule though was that only when all 5pax arrived then they would seat us. i spoke cantonese with the server & managed to get seated but they said we had to vacate by 750pm (we booked 630pm). i supposed it was fair enough under the circumstances. anyway we didn’t need to when the time arrived though restaurant continued to be quite full, but not overflowing.

watercress lie tong (例汤)

watercress lie tong (例汤)

roast pork (烧肉)

roast pork (烧肉)

char siew (叉烧)

char siew (叉烧)

hotplate braised tofu (铁棒豆腐)

hotplate braised tofu (铁棒豆腐)

fried kai lan

fried kai lan

i ordered 1 roast duck deboned, 1 order each of roast pork (烧肉) & char siew (叉烧), and the watercress lie tong (例汤) which son wanted. son ordered the hotplate braised tofu (铁棒豆腐) & fried kai lan. 🙂

we were not disappointed. roast duck was very good. to me it was like hong kong standard. & 1 roast duck for GBP22 is cheaper than most restaurant prices in singapore. i thought the roast pork (烧肉) was really excellent, looked amazing & tasted incredible, so tender & the skin crisp. i can do this again. the char siew (叉烧) was quite average, not poor but no comparison with (say) imperial treasure teochew’s charcoal broiled pork collar or char siew.

son & friends loved the hotplate braised tofu (铁棒豆腐). it was very average though, the coffeeshop zi char standard & no comparison with (say) braised tofu at a good zi char like kok seng.

overall cost for 5pax came to GBP80. for me it was an enjoyable meal & i would be happy to come back again. 🙂

c.h.e.f andy

23pax Dinner @ Ban Heng Orchard Central on 25Apr2014

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braised small abalones with broccoli

had our dinner get-together for 23pax at ban heng @ orchard central on 25.4.2014. we had 3 tables. sure looks like our monthly dinners are gaining traction and we have sustainable numbers coming together to catch up each month. 🙂

i had never been to ban heng, the original at boon keng & the now many new outlets. they have a weekday ala carte buffet at S$26.80pax i emailed the link to the organiser & he arranged to do it at the orchard central outlet.

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chilli crab

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sharks fin soup

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stir-fried frog legs

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drunken prawns

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stir-fried scallops with asparagus

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garlic steamed scallops with tanhoon

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deep-fried soon hock

we started with the list of chef’s recommendations above. for me the best dish was the abalone. 🙂 it was about or almost the normal good restaurant standard, not better.

the rest of the dishes were kind of below par or maybe i should say just ok. however everything is relative. the price of S$26.80 is i guess pretty alright for the number of dishes, though these days there were more talks of worthwhile calories & worthwhile cholesterol and focus was more on quality than quantity. 1 friend i asked during dinner said pretty much the same, that relative to price it was ok. another friend commented on FB post afterwards – “The food was actually quite satisfactory for the price and place”.

1 place though i would consider a whole lot better than (after trying) ban heng would be the ala carte buffet at peach garden.

the chilli crab was pretty ok though not spicy (as we were told by the servers), but it was not a dish that the ladies took much nor the rest.

the sharkskin soup was gluey like sometimes served in wedding dinners. i took <1/2 of the portion served.

the drunken prawn was among the better dishes. 1 lady on my table commented that it had nicely herb flavoured soup. the prawns were quite ok.

the frog legs were a bit below par (say) c/w the plump, meaty ones at ah yat turf city.

likewise the garlic steamed scallops with tanhoon. this should be a pretty standard dish if using live scallops, but somehow the scallop & garnishing were not tasty.  i do a much better tasty dish using IQF frozen razor clams from giant, but of course i always prefer razor clams to scallops for this garlic steamed preparation.

the stir-fried scallops with asparagus was also an average dish. the asparagus were quite good in texture & taste. scallops were just average. like the frog leg, this dish was lacking in ‘wok hae”, which was surprising as the baby kailan dish that came later had very good wok hae.

the deep-fried soon hock was also quite average. this was also a standard dish at many restaurants. couldn’t say it was poor but while the fishes were crispy outside, the inside were not moist & tender as the usually good ones at most restaurants, & the sauce were not so tasty as well.

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roast duck

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steamed sea bass

the lady who commented on the drunken prawns went to spy on the other tables…haha…& we ordered the steamed seabass & the roast duck. good food-spotting, well done!

the 1/2 seabass with spicy bean sauce was good. 🙂 though 1 friend commented that soon hock was a better & more expensive fish…but it goes to show that quality of cooking/preparation is equally or sometime more important than quality of ingredients. 🙂

the roast duck was good too, flavourful but just a tad salty. 🙂 (but compare this with the really good roast duck at noodle restaurant at centrepoint!) it prompted the lady friend to say perhaps the trick was to mine the non chef recommendations.

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stir-fried baby kai lans

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spinach with superior stock

the 2 vegetables dishes we ordered were quite good, above average. the baby kailan had very good wok hae. & the spinach with superior stock was good. nice tasty stock.

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thai deep-fried tofu

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prawn cocktail salad

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braised goose

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hae chor

10294413_10152348756534494_6515834032046957718_n the deep-fried tofu with thai sauce was much below par, both the tofu & also the sauce.

the mayo prawn salad was quite ok & refreshing though not a favourite with me.

the hae chor looks were not so appealing. the taste was just ok.

the braised goose was to me below par, which is kind of surprising for an establishment that started out as teochew restaurant 42years ago in 1972. it was not “pang” i.e. flavourful & texture was over boiled. my favourite is the braised duck at imperial treasure teochew restaurant at ngee ann city. my own teochew braised duck is also more flavourful than this. 1 friend asked whether one could tell between goose & duck. couple of us felt that (say) when eating goose in hong kong the more gamey & fragrant taste was quite apparent. 🙂

desserts were provided on a self-serviced buffet table. the ice jelly was quite refreshing. i had 2 helpings topped up with sea coconut. 🙂

overall, food, ambience & price were quite ok for such a get-together.  ala carte buffet was quite convenient, one price, easy to manage for groups & don’t really have to plan or pre-order the food, pretty much order anything you fancy. we were mostly more interested in talking, with food as a good accompaniment, so i was not paying much attention to the menu too.  it’s probably not a place i would go much or soon.

c.h.e.f andy

Early Dimsum Dinner @ Canton Paradise at Star Vista on 22Feb2014

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crispy char siew pao

had an early 4pax family dim sum dinner at 5.30pm (to beat the crowd) at canton paradise at star vista on 22.2.2014. 🙂

we ordered 8 dim sum & 1 congee. most were quite good!

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har gao

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xiao long bao (小笼包)

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pan-fried carrot cake

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prawn cheongfun (虾肠粉)

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prawns in crispy bean curd skin

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steamed prok ribs

custard salted egg buns (流沙包)

custard salted egg buns (流沙包)

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custard salted egg buns (流沙包)

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3 varieties congee (liver, kidney, meatballs)

#1 the crispy char siew pao was quite good. my daughter liked this better but i preferred the one at timhowan. this had a bit much of the pork filling, & for me the flavour & the look were not as good.

#2 the har gao here was very nice, among the best i had. filling was tasty & skin was taut, not soggy, & thin.

#3 the xiao long bao 小笼包 was good too, quite a lot of the tasty soup, certainly beat the very dry ones at tunglok signature i had recently.

#4  the pan-fried carrot cake was just ok.

#5 the prawn cheongfun 虾肠粉 was among the better ones, smooth skin & tasty fillings.

#6 the prawns in crispy bean curd skin was very good, among the best.

#7 the steamed pork ribs was also average & a bit more fatty, not as good as imperial treasure teochew.

#8 the custard salted egg buns (流沙包) was very good, same as imperial treasure teochew & better than royal china.

#9 the congee was quite ok, but i think crystal jade kitchen at hollandv still better.

Canton Paradise Bill 22.2.2014

the bill came to S$62, so about S$15.50pax all-in, pretty ok price, same price & perhaps overall better than timhowan i had recently.

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