Wonderful Breakfast – A Redemption @ Gettoan Ryokan 月灯庵 Yufuin汤布院 Kyushu 九州 on 26.1.2015

Gettoan japanese breakfast

Gettoan japanese breakfast

after a totally underwhelming sub-par kaiseki dinner, we could be forgiven for lowering our expectations to base level for the following day breakfast on 26.1.2015. not a great feeling when you are staying 2 nights in an expensive ryokan.

fortunately this time, the breakfast surprised & delighted us, as it should jolly be.^^ redemption!

fresh mixed fruit juice

fresh mixed fruit juice

we started with a freshly made mixed fruit juice which was very good & refreshing.^^

excellent fish with miso & shiso leaf

excellent fish tartare with miso & shiso leaf

then we had an excellent fish tartare with brown miso, decorated with a shiso leaf (edible). this was good!

egg, saba dish

egg, saba dish

egg

egg

grilled saba

grilled saba

grilled saba

grilled saba

there was a dish of egg, grilled saba (horse mackerel), some grated radish. well i guess this time “normal service (i.e. expected good japanese food)” resumed.^^

grilled saba was good, not special but good.

deep-fried tofu

deep-fried tofu

deep-fried tofu

deep-fried tofu

the deep-fried tofu was very good – crispy skin, tasty inside, and looked great! this how good japanese cuisine ought to be.

nice yuba tofu

nice yuba tofu

nice yuba tofu

nice yuba tofu

the yuba tofu dish was excellent too, in flavours, texture. i drank up the sauce.

mashed potatoes, mentaiko with crisp anchovies, pickles

mashed potatoes, mentaiko with crisp anchovies, pickles

pickled veg with bonito flakes

pickled veg with bonito flakes

the mentaiko, potato dish & pickles was the usual good standard.

pineapples with yuzu jelly

pineapples with yuzu jelly

pineapples & jelly were refreshing.

this not a kaiseki dinner, just a simple breakfast, but it showed some delightful fineness & execution befitting of japanese cuisine. ^^

so finally, we were looking forward to the kaiseki dinner later.

c.h.e.f andy

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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

Just Average Zi Char @ Two Chefs on 26Nov2013

blood cockles

blood cockles

4 of us continued on our zi char dinner quest at two chefs on 26.11.2013.

the zi char stall at a commonwealth crescent had good reviews, but honestly i was quite disappointed. while it was better than woh hup at hong lim (which was bad!), it was far, far from the very nice dishes we had at kok sen. in my opinion,it was not even comparable to the forture restaurant at the old holland road coffeeship.

we did not order their signature butter pork rib using milk powder as a few reviews & also a friend who dined there recently said it was too sweet. the only dish i really liked was the S$6 blood cockles – pickled raw cockles (腌血蚶) with lots of garlic. 🙂 but then i was about the only one eating them as my friends were not into this much & one felt that garlic was too much (though i liked). so it was not representative!

claypot fish head

claypot fish head

to me, the worst dish was the claypot fish head, gluey & not having the sweet, fresh, tender taste of fish, though the photo may look ok. its a dish i had not taken for perhaps >10years or longer. though i think most are now served cut up & deep-fried, i still prefer the one i had 30 years ago at whampoa where they served the head whole & not deep-fried. two chefs did have assam fish head & blackbean sauce song fish head. surely those would be ok – it’s like anyone can do a song fish head, i remember 1 news report said 1 hawker centre had 15 stalls selling it!

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golden mushrooms tofu

golden mushrooms tofu

3 egg heng chye

3 egg heng chye

the salted egg prawns were ok, tasty but oily, and really not my preferred preparation for prawns.

the golden mushrooms tofu was ok i guess, but quite poor in comparison with kok sen & muliangzai liang kee which were minced pork deep-fried tofu.

the 3-eggs heng chye was watery, taste ok.

overall, it was a very average meal can get at any coffeeshop (like 6th avenue coffeeshop). i guess correspondingly the price is cheap S$60nett for 4pax, but then kok sen was cheap too & very much better!

maybe still have to try the muliangzai type of zi char stalls.

c.h.e.f. andy

Birthday Dinner to Remember @ Tung Lok Signature Central on 22Oct2013

roast pork

roast pork

a good friend organised an early birthday dinner for me at tunglok signature @ central which is next to his office on 22.10.2013. we had 4pax for the evening including my wife & a mutual friend. 🙂 my friend’s god-sister pre-ordered an ala carte menu which turned out to be very good indeed!

we had the usual roast pork as a starter.  the look wasn’t that great. taste-wise it was good as usual, especially with the mustard. 🙂

lie tong 例汤 (soup of the day)

lie tong 例汤 (soup of the day)

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wasabi prawns

wasabi prawns

sea cucumber with jinbai (津白)

sea cucumber with jinbai (津白)

deep-fried tofu with enoki mushorroms

deep-fried tofu with shimeji mushrooms

fried garoupa fillet with brocoli

fried garoupa fillet with broccoli

we had a very good lie tong 例汤 (soup of the day) with chicken stock & some roots, again a very competent & enjoyable dish as usual for tunglok restaurants.

the wasabi prawns with light mayo topped with some mangoes were excellent, better than what we had recently at peach garden.

the best dish for the evening was the thick sea cucumbers. this was served in a very nice brown braising sauce which was served commonly with abalones or goose webs. the taste was exquisite, & i liked the jinbai (津白) as well.

next up was the star garoupa fillet with broccoli & lily bulbs. the wok hae was super – another excellently executed dish. & i liked especially the deep-fried tofu with shimeji mushrooms, very flavourful. 🙂

birthday cake & 流沙寿桃 presentation

birthday cake & 流沙寿桃 presentation

birthday cake & 流沙寿桃

birthday cake & 流沙寿桃

alacarte birthday dinner menu

alacarte birthday dinner menu

my friend also arranged for a very nice chocolate truffle birthday cake from swiss bake,and the restaurant made a great presentation with the longevity buns (which came as mini 流沙寿桃) on a plate with calligraphy of meaningful verses by their manager. the servers sand recited the verses & happy birthday song.  service was excellent here – the server had advised us not to order more dishes earlier when my friend asked.

it was a very enjoyable dinner with the company, food & conversation. 🙂 i didn’t ask how much the dinner cost. i estimate the 6 dishes + dessert (excluding the cake to cost S$250. there was a 25% palate discount for 4pax ala carte, so probably about S$220nett.

c.h.e.f andy

Suckling Pig 8-course Dinner @ Sichuandouhua Parkroyal Kitchener on 12Jul2013

1/2 suckling pig (4 eats) for 6pax

1/2 suckling pig (4 eats) for 6pax

the group decided on trying sichuandouhua after we dropped the plan to try Esquina’s S$95 tasting menu on a friday 12.7.2013. we picked the S$288 6pax suckling pig 8-course menu, with 20% added discount using UOB card. the very delicious dinner came up to only S$46pax nett. 🙂

sichuandouhua parkroyal kitchener road

sichuandouhua parkroyal kitchener road

i had never been to this sichuandouhua at Parkroyal Kitchener.  it had a very pleasant, classy, slightly understated ambience, but it was just <50% full on a friday night.

the 1/2 suckling pig for 6pax (whole for 10pax) appeared bigger than the ones we usually had. it was the片皮 style eaten with cucumber, sweet sauce & chinese crepe, and comprised 4 eats including for steaming red garoupa, deep-fried & porridge afterwards.

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the double-boiled kampung chicken soup with conpoy (dried scallop) & cordyceps flowers was excellent, very sweet & tasty goodness. 🙂

deepfried prawns with popcorn etc in XO sauce

deepfried prawns with popcorn etc in XO sauce

the 避风塘prawns in XO sauce with garlic & almond flakes was very good too, a welcomed variation of the usual cereal prawns. 🙂

steamed red garoup shunde style

steamed red garoup shunde style

next we had a red garoupa shunde style. fish was very good. it was like teochew style with lots of tofu strips & steamed with suckling pig neck replacing the usual belly pork (didn’t see much diff there!).

tofu spinach with diced abalones & seafood

tofu spinach with diced abalones & seafood

next we had a spinach tofu (similar to Tunglok’s 三层楼) with diced abalone & seafood. great dish! 🙂

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the next eat for the suckling pig was a deep-fried (椒盐) meat. i liked it though i agreed with 1 friend that it might be even better to just chop up & eat the meat. 🙂

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the last before dessert was a porridge again using the suckling pig meat & bones…this was once again an excellent tasting dish-very smooth porridge & very sweet. 🙂

signature douhua with wolfberries

signature douhua with wolfberries

we ended with the signature douhua with wolfberries, and it was good. very smooth indeed!

S$288 6pax suckling pig 8-course dinner menu

S$288 6pax suckling pig 8-course dinner menu

according to 1 friend, this menu was popular when they introduced last year so they decided to repeat this year. we checked with the service personnel & they confirmed that was so & the current promotion would end Jul2013.

i think it was a truly excellent meal for the quality & quantity of food at this price. 🙂

c.h.e.f andy