If you have any comments/suggestions/places you think serve great food, do share with us! Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a comment in the tag board. Thanks and cheers to future gastronomical adventures!
MY TO-GO LIST
Au Jardin (Eaten!)
Au Petit Salut
Buko Nero (Eaten!)
Pasta Brava (Eaten!)
Saturday, January 31, 2009
Da Paolo Gastronomia #4
#B1-20, Paragon Shopping Centre
After indulging excessively at the buffet, I was craving for something sweet as no dessert was provided at the buffet. The best place in the vicinity I could think of was this Italian deli with excellent takeaway desserts.
This was the 2nd time I tried the Tiramisu ($11 for a small box) and boy, it was still as good as I remembered. The proportion of biscuits to mascarpone was balanced and there was a strong coffee and alcohol taste which I liked. The photo was poorly taken as I was eager to dig in and satisfy my craving!
Busting the caloric bank for this was so worth it! Even though it is expensive, the quality more than justifies the price.
Himawari Japanese Restaurant
991 Alexandra Road, Blk 4
After reading some rather good reviews about this place, I decided to bring my family here to celebrate my mom's coming birthday. Himawari was featured in Channel 8's "Buffet Buffet" variety show some time ago but I didn't manage to catch the show as I was in New Zealand. A real pity!
Of course, I've done my research online before deciding on the place. Given the variety of food, I think that the buffet price of $34.80++ per person (weekend lunch) is quite reasonable. One thing I didn't like was the laminated menu which looked cheap and unprofessional.
One strategy I always practise when eating buffet is not to waste my calories on any other food beforehand. With a growling stomach, I started ordering and soon, our table was laden with plates and plates of tantalising food! First off, my favourite edamame! These were steamed so long that they were real easy to pop. They were so addictive that I had several orders of them!
I started liking wakame (seaweed) after tasting it at The Auckland Food Show in New Zealand. Then, I had it again at the famous Sydney Fish Market. Finally, I got to try it in Singapore! This was very well seasoned and so healthy that I didn't feel guilty ordering it thrice. However, I didn't like the kurage (jellyfish) which was seasoned with an overdose of vinegar.
The ubiquitous chawanmushi was silky smooth but a little too bland. I like the gingko nut embedded at the bottom of the egg custard.
Oh my, the salmon sashimi was so fresh that we had more than 4 servings of it! The fish was perfectly sliced and the thickness was just right. I'm craving for this even as I'm writing this! Unfortunately, I can't say the same for the tuna sashimi. It was so bad that I couldn't bear to swallow it and had to spit it out. Word of advice: just stick to the salmon sashimi!
The agedashi tofu was ordinary and nothing special.
Another unexpected star was the deep fried squid legs. They were crispy and well seasoned. These could be very addictive!
The sanma shioyaki took a long time to be prepared. But the wait was worth it as the salt grilled pacific saury retained much of its natural juice and flavour.
My parents ordered the common teriyaki chicken which I didn't try.
Another dish I didn't try was the chicken yakitori which my parents and sis liked more than the previous teriyaki chicken.
The ebi tempura was rather disappointing. The batter was light and crispy enough but the prawns used were so small and slim that they were overwhelmed by the batter.
The seafood harumaki (left) were filled with chopped squids and prawns. Not too oily, these were quite good with a nice bite to them. I didn't try the gyoza on the right though.
Like the sanma, the saba was prepared shioyaki-style to retain its natural juiciness. The oily, off-white flesh of the mackerel tasted strongly of the sea!
The buffet also offered shabu shabu and sukiyaki. We had the sukiyaki which consisted of white cabbage, tofu, carrots, mushrooms and spring onions. The broth was extremely sweet (in a good way) and tasty!
The family chose beef slices to go into the sukiyaki.
It was so amusing to see my family trying the grilled shishamo (pregnant fish) for the first time. Especially my mom, who was quite freaked out at the idea of eating so many pale yellow fish eggs at one go. These were delicious!
The soft shelled was average tasting but a tad too skinny to my liking. On the other hand, all of us loved the pumpkin croquettes which were packed with sweet pumpkin!
Like all the other fish dishes, the teriyaki gindara (cod fish) was fresh and cooked just right.
Another highlight for me was the unagi! I don't understand why the rest of the family don't seem to like it as much as I do. I can never say no to unagi and I think I ate a whole long eel that day!
I always think that California rolls are not "real" sushi since they are not normally found in any sushi restaurants in Japan or in recipe books for Japanese cooking. As such, I would never order or eat them voluntarily.
The teriyaki salmon which was slightly overcooked so the flesh was a little tough.
The buffet does not include any desserts which was a shame as it would be nice to have something sweet to balance out the savoury food at the end of the meal. Nevertheless, I think that the quality of food was surprisingly good for a buffet. Service was also excellent and the staff were attentive. I would definitely recommend this place to anyone who loves Japanese food!
Sunday, January 25, 2009
Chinese New Year
The family always gathered at my grandma's house on Chinese New Year's Eve for a steamboat session. Knowing I am the most fussy eater among all, grandma would ask me to "plan the menu" and prepared them in advance. This year, we had codfish, scallops with broccoli, prawns, po-piah, yam, Japanese mushrooms, pork and many others.
All of us love yu sheng! This was served in a very pretty large plate and bought from Crystal Jade. Taste wide, it was not too bad but nothing exceptional.
Sis, Eugene and I chipped in and bought Le Royale ($36.50+ for 500g) from Canele to celebrate our mothers' birthdays. This was really small and expensive but I don't mind since we paid for quality rather than quantity. Chocolate mousse was layered with hazelnut feullitine, almond success and chocolate genoise with rum. Grandma thought that this was too sweet and gave me her share!
On the 1st day of Chinese New Year, we had yu sheng again! This time, this was bought from a famous stall in Chinatown and tasted excellent!
Happy Chinese New Year to everyone! May the new year be filled with joy and laughter, good health and safety!
Friday, January 23, 2009
#02-11, Ngee Ann City
Don't be mistaken, I did not go to Toast Box but Toast, a cafe by The Marmalade Group. Hui Yi, Wen Yi and I actually searched for this place last year but it was not open for dinner. This time, we came for a late lunch instead.
As usual, I had difficulty deciding on what to order as there were many interesting items on the menu that I wanted to try. In the end, I settled on the Grilled Vegetable Wrap ($7.50) which had grilled eggplant, butternut and red peppers with hummus on wholewheat tortilla wrap. The toasted wrap was good but could have been better with more generous fillings.
Hui Yi polished off her Oven-roasted Chicken Breast Wrap ($7.70), with wood roasted peppers and emmental cheese in a wholemeal tortilla wrap, very quickly!
The Tuna Sambal ($6.80) with dried shrimp and rocket on panini was an interesting choice but Wen Yi didn't like it.
Hidden in a corner outside the shopping centre, this may be a little hard to find. I think it caters more to the working adults for lunch as the choices were rather limited when we were there in the late afternoon. This is a good alternative place to have a sandwich or a slice of cake without burning the pocket.
Monday, January 19, 2009
Blk 125, Bukit Merah Lane 1, #01-182
Mom has been telling me about this place that serves cheap and delicious thai food for ages. So, she took half a day's leave and brought me here for an early dinner after shopping at the nearby Ikea.
The menu was simple but comprehensive. I wanted to try a little of everything and ordered 8 items for just the two of us! First up, the Mango Salad ($6.50) which I wouldn't dream of not ordering when having thai food. This was quite interesting as fried cuttlefish was topped on the crunchy shreds of tangy mango.The Thai Prawn Cakes ($2.30 per piece) were my favourite! They were crispy yet not oily, and stuffed with generous amount of fresh prawns.
You are probably thinking that these looked exactly like the prawn cakes. But no, these were Thai Fish Cakes ($2.30 per piece) which tasted like otah. Nothing special and a little too pricey for the size.
Another excellent dish was the Crispy Seafood Tofu ($5 for 6 pieces). In retrospect, these were rather similar to the prawn cakes but the texture was a little smoother due to the tofu.
The Tom Yum Sliced Fish Soup ($4.50 for small) was quite up to standard with the aroma of lemongrass and a tangy spiciness. The portion was just nice for the both of us but might be too small if sharing with more than 2 friends.
I had a tough time deciding on the vegetable dish as almost all of them sounded good. The waitress solved my dilemma by recommending the Belacan Sweet Potato Leaves ($6 for small). This was nothing fantastic though and my mom reckoned that the belacan was not spicy enough.
The highlight of the meal was the Craypot Crab Vermicelli ($15) which was the promotion for this week. By this point, both of us were stuffed but couldn't resist digging in as the smell was just heavenly. I seldom eat vermicelli but this was quite remarkable as it soaked up the fragrant essence of the crab. However, the portion was too generous and we had to doggy bag it home.
If I didn't know of this place, I would probably walk past it without a 2nd glance as it's tucked away in a HDB area with old provision shops. Don't expect too much from the interior of the eatery as it's really stark and bare. This is truly a no-frills eating place with minimal decor but great value for money! There is no GST or service charge which is a big plus!
Friday, January 16, 2009
The Soup Spoon #2
#B1-K4/K7, Paragon Shopping Centre
It's official. I am a soup convert now. Not only are they affordable and filling, the versatility of soups means that there are many different varieties to choose from. This time, I tried the Meatless Minestrone ($5.60 for regular) with whole grains roll. Thick with ingredients such as zucchinis, kidney beans, tomatoes and pasta, each mouthful is a burst of various flavours and textures.
I liked Betty's order of Velvety Mushroom Stroganoff ($7.70). It was a very robust and full-bodied with the aroma of mushrooms. However, after a few spoonfuls, it could get a little overwhelming on the stomach as it's creamy. This is really for serious for mushroom lovers!
Betty got an additional half a Roast Beef Sandwich and a glass of iced tea by topping up another $3.90 for a full meal. And almost regretted it because it turned out to be too much. Trust me, if Betty had difficulty finishing everything, it's really a lot of food!
Hui Yi opted for the all time favourite, Roasted Pumpkin with Toasted Almonds. Delicious!
I think older generations like my mom or grandma will think that having a bowl of soup doesn't constitute a full meal because it's just liquid. That's just plain nonsense! They are so big on flavour and satisfying!
Thursday, January 15, 2009
Ichiban Sushi #2
#B1-55, Jurong Point Shopping Centre
I know I know, this is the 2nd time this week I'm having a meal at Ichiban Sushi. And at the same branch. It shows how much we NTU students love our Jurong Point (as if!). Both Eileen and I ended lessons late and decided to just have dinner at the newly renovated mall. I redeemed a complimentary Chuka Iidaki with my rewards card. The baby octopus was quite well marinated and seasoned.
I remembered how nice the Salmon Sukiyaki ($13.90++) smelled on my last visit and decided to order that. It was really great and good value for money!
The BBQ Chicken Set ($15.90++) came with fried tofu and salmon sashimi too. The portion size seemed quite reasonable for the price.
This being my 2nd visit this week, I can safely say that the quality of food served is quite consistent with no major misses. However, I think that the menu looks rather limited to me and there is nothing interesting to warrant another visit anytime soon!
Monday, January 12, 2009
Ichiban Sushi #1
#B1-55, Jurong Point Shopping Centre
Sharon, Elaine and I met up with Hui Qing to celebrate her 21st birthday! There was such a long queue outside the restaurant that it was past 8pm when we were finally seated.
Sharon's Gyu Teriyaki Don ($11.90++) arrived first. The beef rice bowl was so big that she had trouble finishing it.
My Unagi Yanagawa ($11.90++) was less value for money. The BBQ eel was paired with scrambled egg and shimmered in dashi stock. Maybe because I was very hungry, I found this to be delicious!
The birthday girl ordered the Ichiban Bento ($15.90++) which came with grilled mackerel, assorted tempura, salmon sashimi, chawanmushi and rice. I liked the mackerel as the flesh was firm and juicy.
Elaine's Salmon Sukiyaki ($13.90++) arrived bubbling hot and smelled so good! The dashi stock was brimming with assorted vegetables and starchy noodles. All of us agreed that the stock was very sweet and flavourful.
Fresh and thick cuts of salmon sashimi and a raw egg were served on the side.
Most of the shops were closing by the time we left the restaurant. So Hui Qing's birthday cake was bought from Bangawasolo. If I didn't remember wrongly, it was coffee cake topped with pieces of walnut.
It's always great to meet up with old friends in a restaurant with casual and friendly atmosphere. Food wise, nothing memorable but not horrible either. I wouldn't mind coming back to give its menu another go. And more importantly, Happy 21st Birthday, Hui Qing!
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