Lobster, Crab & Average Buffet @ Spices Cafe on 31Oct2014

cheese baked 1/2 lobster (1 order only)

cheese baked gratin 1/2 lobster (1 order only)

a friend organised the monthly RI schoolmates dinner at spices cafe, concord hotel yesterday on 31.10.2014. it was a really fun evening with a lot of interesting conversation. i am just quoting our great philosopher-

the analogy we cooked up to explain our senior moments. it was triggered by a friend’s reference to cloud storage as in the IT terminology eg Dropbox. our memory storage is in the cloud. it is just that we forget the password at times to unlock the specific memory storage. that’s why it helps to have shared storage in the cloud. if one forgets, another remembers. we need all the help we can get when our own neurons refuse to do the job.

see how fun our get-togethers are…with genius like this spewing jewels of wisdom…haha! 🙂

cheese baked 1/2 lobster (1 order only)

cheese baked gratin 1/2 lobster (1 order only)

the dinner buffet came with 1 order only of 1/2 cheese baked gratin lobster (or alternatively abalone). they said 200g though it looked bigger. the preparation though was so-so, the meat didn’t feel bouncy so either it was not a live lobster or maybe slight overdone.

the abalone was small c/w say the 2in size & more importantly excellent tasting abalone at ah yat abalone restaurant in a 5-course dinner groupon deal costing only S$28.80.

pepper crab

pepper crab

butter baked crab

butter baked crab

thai basil crab

thai basil crab

the buffet also included unlimited order of crabs prepared 5 ways – thai basil, pepper, chilli, salted egg & butter baked.

the preparations were ok. for me, thai basil & salted egg were best, pepper ok, butter baked so-so. i did not try chilli.

the crab were the indonesian mud crab type or maybe vietnamese, not the large sri lankan crab. meat was sweet, not the very firm standard, but not falling apart also. i think “boleh la” – ok & really i seldom eat crab as they are really expensive in seafood restaurants, so it may actually make sense if you want to “whack” the crabs to come & makan here! 🙂

we were too busy talking & having fun & did not even order a second round, but i made sure i tasted most of it, well except the chilli crab. 🙂

cold appetizers - oysters, mussels, scallops on shell, salmon, maguro & tai sashimi, prawns & some sushi

cold appetizers – oysters, mussels, scallops on shell, salmon, maguro & tai sashimi, prawns & some sushi

appetizers - smoked salmon, prawns, cold pasta, plus a marinated saba

appetizers – smoked salmon, prawns, cold pasta, plus a marinated saba

smoked salmon (so so), oysters (good), mussel (ok), salmon belly (good), marinated saba - horse mackerel (ok)

smoked salmon (so so), oysters (good), mussel (ok), salmon belly (good), marinated saba – horse mackerel (ok)

smoked salmon (so so), oysters (good), mussel (ok), salmon belly (good), marinated saba - horse mackerel (ok)

smoked salmon (so so), oysters (good), mussel (ok), salmon belly (good), marinated saba – horse mackerel (ok)

the cold appetiser section had oysters(good), mussels(ok), scallops on shell(i did not want to try, it looked like just taken out of deep freeze & thawed just as 1 blogger commented), salmon belly sashimi (good), maguro & tai sashimi, prawns & some sushi (the last 4 i likewise did not want to try. the sushi looked like the supermarket type).

i also took smoked salmon (so so, i should say poor actually), and a marinated saba (ok). did not try the prawns & cold pasta.

fortunately, salmon belly sashimi was really quite good, and the oyster too, so that was quite enough for me.

satay

satay

satay was good, and they actually had the pineapple sauce (not so common these days).

laksa was good - i asked for more hum (cockles) & i had a second helping

laksa was good – i asked for more hum (cockles) & i had a second helping

laksa was good - i asked for more hum (cockles) & i had a second helping

laksa was good – i asked for more hum (cockles) & i had a second helping

laksa was good, lemak. as good as any of the “katong laksa” around & the sungei road laksa. i had a second helping, maybe should have gone for a third.

i did not touch any of the cooked food. did not attract me, anyway, with lobster, crab, 2 helpings of oyster & sashimi & laksa, it was kind of enough, not too bad. 🙂

cheese & salad bar

cheese & salad bar

fruits & cheese

fruits & cheese

fruits & cheese

fruits & cheese

the cheese & salad bar was ok if limited. i took the brie & the blue. 🙂

the fruits were good. i had 2 helpings of pineapples & watermelon, and they had a lot of dried fruits like figs, apricots & prunes that i liked.

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overall, i find spices cafe buffet rather expensive, at S$54++pax for friday & weekend dinners. fortunately there was a 3paying 1 free promotion, so we paid about S$49pax nett for 13pax + 1pax vegetarian alacarte.

if you consider that a good 1/2lobster cost between S$20 and S$30, i guess then the buffet was not overly expensive.

buffet doesn’t attract me, and other than the lobster & crab (which were also so so for me), i would not normally do this buffet.

i would rate this as slightly above olive tree restaurant @ intercontinental hotel (S$34++ after 1 for 1 promotion) & the lunch buffet at edge @ pan pacific (S$43.50++ after 3paying 1 free) but not by much, and of course edge has far superior ambience & in a “higher class hotel” if that is even important haha.

anyway i would only go if i want the crab (i don’t need the lobster), & spices cafe has lunch buffet for senior citizen at S$23pax, so if i really want buffet i can go lunch w/o the lobster & crab. 🙂

for buffet, my favourite is still the semi buffet at equinox (after 50% feed at raffles discounts, that is), and even then i have not been there for the longest time! the view over marina bay skyline & F1 circuit is superb, and the main courses (which i avoid in other buffet) are ala carte orders & of fine dining standard.

the same goes for one ninety mezzo lunch at four seasons, another superior semi buffet. one ninety has better quality of buffet spread than equinox, & the main courses are also ala carte orders of fine dining standard. 🙂

c.h.e.f andy

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Simple Enjoyable Zi Char at Forture Restaurant on 25Oct2014

thai fish head curry (S$25)

thai fish head curry (S$25)

had simple zi char dinner with wife & daughter last evening at forture restaurant at old holland road on 25.10.2014. 🙂

went there about 6.50pm. luckily i found a parking lot in front of restaurant. the place was 90% filled with many tables of western expat families.

it was very popular eating place. for me that’s a good thing really, that expats, western & others, were enjoying nice local zi char food. there would always be concern if some dishes would be adulterated, but it didn’t really affect the dishes we ordered much (maybe the cuttlefish kang kong sauce & the satay sauce).

we ordered our favourite, the thai curry fish head. used to be S$15 (guess that was eons ago..haha), now S$25. i ate this here more recently on 2.4.2014.

we were lucky we were served like in 5 mins. not always the case & place was quite packed.

the thai curry fish head was really good. it was tangy, sweet, very tasty, lot of vegetables. it was a large 1/2 angkoli (red snapper) fish head. the nonya song fish head at keng eng kee, also S$25, i had on 9.6.2014 came close. the sauce was thicker, same tangy sweet flavours but a red snapper head was always going to be better than song fish head for curries.

seafood hor fun (S$4)

seafood hor fun (S$4)

seafood hor fun (S$4)

seafood hor fun (S$4)

we like the hor fun here & occasionally “tapao” (did a take-out). usually wok hae (pan flavours) very good. this time it was ok average.

thai fish head curry (S$25)

thai fish head curry (S$25)

cuttlefish with kang kong

cuttlefish with kang kong (S$10)

cuttlefish with kang kong

cuttlefish with kang kong (S$10)

we ordered the “jill her eng chai”- cuttlefish with kang kong (S$10). the kang kong was very good. the cuttlefish was good, came with an unusual sweet sauce (looked & tasted just like yong tau fu very red colour sweet sauce). it was not the usual sambal. i didn’t mind it actually but i guessed the usual sambal should be better.

beef &  chicken satay

beef & chicken satay

beef &  chicken satay

beef & chicken satay

the satay were very good, very tasty & not dry or tough. the sauce was watery & a bit sweeter than most satay sauce (to cater for expat diners maybe?) but still nice. I thought this was a very good satay if only they served a usual better sauce.

the dinner for 3pax was S$45 exclude drinks. it was not cheap but not expensive also, just the going price i guess.

c.h.e.f andy

Pre-Wimbledon Semi+World Cup France-Germany Dinner@East Coast Lagoon Food Village on 4Jul2014

bakchormee

bakchormee

went to a friend’s house for a marathon evening of 2 wimbledon semis – Federer vs Raonic & Djokovic vs Dimitrov aka baby Fed. 🙂

we took the pleasant stroll to east coast lagoon food village. the last we came was during roland garros on 8.6.2014. 🙂

bakchormee

bakchormee

braised pig trotters

braised pig trotters

braised pig trotters

braised pig trotters

this time we tried the supposedly famours pig trotters at han jia bakuteh & pork leg. i wanted bakchormee so i skipped the rice & just had the trotters. according to my friend, this stall was quite good except that it was less good in the evening as the trotters got to be too soft.

braised pig trotters, taupok, chai buay

braised pig trotters, taupok, chai buay

my bakchormee was ok but not of the standard of tai wah bakchormee, jalan tua kong lau lim at bedok simpangjalan tua kong meepok tar at 6th avenue etc.

my 2 other friends ordered also taupok, chai buay + peanuts & kidney, liver soup. all were ok except the pig trotters. partly because  we ordered the lean trotters, but this was way below the standard of any good trotters stall like ng ah sio bakuteh, song fa bakuteh etc.

i had tried several stalls here after 4 visits including laksa, orh luah, satay, beef noodles, bbq chicken & now the pig trotters. except for the bbq chicken wings & orh luah which were good, i have to say that this food centre is way below par c/w with say maxwell road hawker centre, amoy street hawker centre, hong lim hawker centre & bukit timah food centre.

after dinner we enjoyed the top drawer sound system & music, this time jason mraz, & the wimbledon semis & world cup quarterfinals between france & germany. we left about 2am, skipping the brazil-columbia game. 🙂

c.h.e.f andy

 

 

8pax Dinner @ Satay by the Bay on 23Sep2013

satay by the bay

satay by the bay

the month’s organiser thought to vary the G15 dinner theme a bit & organised a walk/cycle/run night ending at satay by the bay at 7.30pm on 23.9.2013. :-)

it just happened to be the day after F1 & there was some uncertainty regards road closures. 3 friends came in their lamborghinis, the 2 wheeler version. :-) another was walking from his office at raffles place so we arranged to have coffee at cafe crema next the visitor centre at 6.30pm. in the end we were all delayed & it took me 15mins to get past the short viaduct stretch (keppel) from AYE to ECP.

satay by the bay was a food court with many stalls including satays. as we were approaching in dusk, crossing a short bridge the night view/photo was quite enchanting.

bbq chicken wings

bbq chicken wings

rojak

rojak

20130923_195014 20130923_195006

we ordered food to share. the bbq chicken wing was good. the rojak was good too & the satay included chicken, mutton, pork from the the chinese stall. there was no pineapple sauce though, and the pork wasn’t great, the mutton & chicken were ok. it brought back my memories on pork satay. now i remember the fatty ones properly charred were very good, though these days i don’t do much satay & almost always just chicken & mutton so i somewhat forgotten.

sweet sour deep-fried baby sotong

sweet sour deep-fried baby sotong

bbq sting ray

bbq sting ray

seafood hor fun

seafood hor fun

fried rice

fried rice

the deep-fried sotong was something i hardly eat these days. it was good though nothing special. the pengkang stingray ok too. the hor fun had good wok hae, tasty though not much ingredients. the fried rice was ok too, with wok hae & not mushy but single grains (in teochew we say “sun sun”) but again not much ingredients just carbo. 😉

pineapples & melons

pineapple & melon

watermelon & papaya

watermelon & papaya

fruits were good. the makan cost S$120 for 8pax, not much but also not exactly cheap for hawker food. 🙂

c.h.e.f andy