Good Ala Carte Buffet @ Peach Garden Miramar on 8May2014

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drunken chicken

went with sis, b-i-l & a friend to peach garden miramar on 8.5.2014. they were having a 3paying 1 free promotion for 4pax at S$30.80 weekdays. 🙂

#1 the drunken chicken was 1/2 frozen & did not look great (my one looked better..haha) but the taste was good! much better than mine. 🙂

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pork floss with deep-fried eggplant

#2 we all liked the pork floss & also the light battered egg plant, very nice dish! 🙂

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deep-fried soon hock

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deep-fried soon hock

#3 deep-fried soon hock was ok, above average, perhaps a little better than the recent one at ban heng on 25.4.2014, but not the best.

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pork ribs

#4 the pork ribs were flavourful. meat not the most tender, just slightly chewy, taste was good.

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crab sauce tofu

#5 crab sauce & tofu were good. look-wise seems something missing in this dish..maybe some garnish or greens.

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pating fish

#6 pating my favourite fish. this method of preparation not the best. the minced ginger or HK steamed style much better.

roast pork - below par!

roast pork – below par!

#7 it seemed really odd that a roast pork dish in such a restaurant could be bad, but it was, much below par!

char siew

char siew

#8 we were already very full when i spotted the char siew later & had to order it. this was very good! almost imperial treasure standard. 🙂

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losbter claw sharksfin soup

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sea cucumber sharksfin soup

#9 each diner was only allowed 1 order of soup. i had the lobster claw sharksfin soup. it was very average soup (not even as good as any lie tong aka soup of the day from tonglok restaurants or imperial treasure), and the sea cucumber sharksfin seemed no better.

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hotplate venison

#10 venison was very average, like any zi char stall.

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pan-fried kurobuta

#11 kurobuta itself was tender & tasty. this chinese way of preparation though not my favourite.

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dried scallop eggwhite fried rice

#12 fried rice was good, fragrant! 🙂

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yuzu prawn fritters

#13 these were very nice, much better than wasabi mayo prawns preparation. 🙂 may try these at home.

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fried scallop with french beans

#14 this was like a joke. the scallops turned out to be like 1 medium scallop (or maybe 1/2) sliced into 10 pieces. you need real skills to slice it so thinly. a case of disappearing scallop dish. 😦

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indonesian prawn

#15 surprisingly, the indonesian prawn dish was very good. prawn was good & fresh & the curry sauce was very good.

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tofu with vege

#16 this was ok, pretty standard.

brocoli & cauliflower

brocoli & cauliflower

#17 brocoli & cauliflower was very well done, very tasty! 🙂

overall food was quite good for an ala carte buffet, a lot better certainly c/w ban heng.

the service was good, efficient & friendly throughout except when paying the bill. we were charged a really hefty S$1.50pax for ice water & S$1pax for towels, so there was an extra S$10++ tab on the bill. it was a bit high but ok except that we asked specifically at the beginning when deciding whether to order tea & was told by the server that water was FREE, and tea was S$2.50pax. i told the girl closing the bill. she said water was as charged (next time i need to record the conversation. haha!). anyway, the total bill after 1pax free came to $120nett=S$30nett per pax so i was quite ok to just pay it.

i would come back again but buffets were very heavy & not ideal for me to do too often. 🙂

c.h.e.f andy

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Protected: RI G20 20pax Dinner @ Shin Yeh on 22Jan2014

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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

4pax Birthday ala Carte Buffet Lunch @ Jing on 28Dec2013

korean-styled beef ribs with kimchi

korean-styled beef ribs with kimchi

was buying a birthday lunch for a friend couple & decided to go Jing for the weekend ala carte buffet lunch on 28.12.2013.  Jing is a joint venture by majestic chef yong bing ngen & low lik peng. the location is better however somehow i always find majestic food better. anyhow had not been to jing for many years so thought i would try it out again. 🙂

the weekend ala carte buffet is S$48pax, with 1 fee for 3paying using citibank credit card. previously it was S$36pax also with the 1 free promotion but perhaps that was sometime ago. anyway these days most better ala carte buffet would have cost this amount. 🙂

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fishmaw soup

fishmaw soup

peking duck

peking duck

previously peking duck was served at a cold cut station. this time it was served as a table order which was preferred. it was competent.

the fish maw soup was good as usual. we also tried the dumpling soup which was very tasty too!

we ordered 3 dim sum – a scallop dumpling, a deep-fried dragon beard scallop dumpling & a abalone crystal dumpling..they were good too.

signature wasabi prawns

signature wasabi prawns

chilean seabass topped with chye poh

chilean seabass topped with chye poh

deep-fried soon hock (marble goby)

deep-fried soon hock (marble goby)

chilli crab

chilli crab

monkey head mushrooms sichuan style

monkey head mushrooms sichuan style

sliced beef with sweet basil

sliced beef with sweet basil

shark fin on rice (泡饭)

shark fin on rice (泡饭)

杨枝甘露 - mango pomelo dessert

杨枝甘露 – mango pomelo dessert

the korean-styled galbi beef ribs with kimchi (top photo) was good as usual. the wasabi prawns were crispy, juicy, good, though my personal preference was for less mayo (like at majestic). the chilean seabass was kind of disappointment as majestic served a very tasty chilean seabass – this one was not firm & flat in taste.

the deep-fried soon hock was competent. the chilli crab was better than i expected as i had previously very poor chilli crab at majestic.

we had the monkey head mushroom dish – quite a meaningless nothing dish for me, just tasting the sweet sour “gong bao” taste.

the sliced beef with sweet basil was poor. most zi char did this better, even the S$9 thai basil beef set at le wu.

the sharkskin “pao fan”, a soupy rice dish, was also a dish that could do w/o, basically just eating carbo.

the mango pomelo dish was very average, nothing like that the 杨枝甘露 at tunglok signature.

birthday cake - swissbake paradiso

birthday cake – swissbake paradiso

overall, my guests felt it was quite a good lunch. i thought i was ok too, though i didn’t really think it was any better than peach garden’s ala carte buffet which was cheaper & had wider choice of food.

i got a birthday cake from swissbake called paradiso, & Jing kept, served & arranged for the birthday boy to bring back the cake. 🙂

c.h.e.f. andy

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

braised abalone with mushroom & lettuce

braised abalone with mushroom & lettuce

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

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

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deep-fried soon hock

deep-fried soon hock

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

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

butter baked boston lobster

butter baked boston lobster

butter baked boston lobster

butter baked boston lobster

ee-fu nooldes

ee-fu noodles

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

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

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

almond birdnest

almond birds nest

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

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

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

c.h.e.f andy

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

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

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

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

salmon fish skin

salmon fish skin

roast pork

roast pork

deep fried eggplant with meat floss

deep fried eggplant with meat floss

vegetarian goose (素鹅)

vegetarian goose (素鹅)

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

sharksfin in sharks bone cartilage soup

sharksfin in sharks bone cartilage soup

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

deep-fried tofu

deep-fried tofu

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

kong ba (梅菜扣肉)

kong ba (梅菜扣肉)

pan-fried venison

pan-fried venison

pan-fried kurobuta

pan-fried kurobuta

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

deep=fried soon hock

deep=fried soon hock

minced ginger bating (巴丁鱼)

minced ginger pating (巴丁鱼)

wasabi mayo prawns

wasabi mayo prawns

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

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

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

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

char kuay teow

char kuay teow

ee-fu noodles

ee-fu noodles

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

pulut hitam with coconut ice cream

pulut hitam with coconut ice cream

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

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

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

c.h.e.f andy