Saturday, March 26, 2011

Victor's Kitchen, Sunshine Plaza

Disappointed by our previous attempt, we decided to make a return trip to sunshine plaza for the legendary Victor's Kitchen. The place was open at 1030 and lo-and-behold the crowd and the massive queue of not less than 1,000 people (not in photo) when we arrived around 1130 for brunch.

After waiting for almost 20 minutes, we finally got a seat and ordered from a sheet of paper. First to come was the prawn chee cheong fun (fun fun fun). The prawns were a lil crunchy denoting its (likely) freshness, flour was soft and fluffy, sauce was just the right mix of sweet and saltiness - most likely sesame oil for added flavour - and there was generous portions of green vegetables inside. Very yummy, and an awesome precursor to what was in store!

The rest of the dim sum all came at once (and while this was a blessing for our hungry tummehs, this meant some would get a bit cold) and we had a little difficulty arranging all 7 trays on our tiny table. Nevertheless, we tucked into...

Golden lava buns! This. was. amazing. This is probably the best we've had thus far. The flowy custard was the right consistency - not too liquidy that it all spilled forth, but not too pasty that it just stayed within the bun. Very tasty - all 3 buns were wolfed down immediately.

The custard was oh-so very sweet and salty at the same time, you could taste the very pure decadence of egg yolk and the remnant yolk bits in the custard as it runs through your mouth. Wish there was more custard (so that it actually flows, you know, like lava) but it's probably asking too much for this price! ($4.50 for 3).

We declared we would go back just to order about 10 of these and gorge ourselves silly. Om nom nom.

I thought the stellar dish was this very unique steamed carrot cake with XO sauce. This took me by surprise, as I was expecting the usual fried version. On first glance this looked nothing like carrot cake (looked more like congee), and so were pleasantly treated to soft fluffiness with the full flavour of good old carrot cake (we try to tell ourselves this is healthier too). The XO sauce went really well with each scrumptious bite.

Bear had the chicken feet. I stole a piece of tau kee and noted the spicy twang of the sauce. He polished these off.

One of the best feet I've had, cooked till very soft and the skin falls off the bone very easily. The sauce was deep in black bean flavour and surprisingly gets spicier the more you eat it - fantastic.

It was around this time when our digital camera waved a white flag and started giving up from the copious amounts of heavenly steam being emitted by the dim sum. It fogged up the lens and the focus ability went a little screwy.

Chive dumplings were great! I'm usually not a big fan of chives, but gobbled these down quite happily. Dumplings were packed with generous amounts of chives, and the flour skin was thin and chewy (didn't get too starchy even when slightly cold).

Siew mai was a bit dry by the time we got around to this tray. Not sure if it was just me but these looked a bit smaller than average - maybe it shrunk somewhat? Still good though!

Har gau came with nice and big-ish juicy prawns that were slightly crunchy to the bite. The flour skin was also thin and soft. Thumbs up for skin-to-filling ratio!

The (literally) yummy chicken roll was the special of the day - not sure if these are 'special everyday'. We ordered this after seeing everyone around us munching on this monstrosity and were too curious to find out how good it was. As a result it came piping hot while the other items were almost finished.

Chicken, crab stick, fish maw and baby corn were all wrapped in beancurd skin and steamed. Everything went so well with each other, so powerfully flavoured and big it was almost a meal in its own. Must try!!!

For 8 items with drinks, we paid $32 for two. To be honest it was enough food for 3 (or 6 girls), so it was not expensive at all. Portions were big and quality was high for the amount of price paid - definitely worth multiple revisits!

HGW Link :

Monday, March 21, 2011

Parklane Fried Wonton Mee, Sunshine Plaza

One Monday evening we traipsed into Sunshine Plaza near Dhoby Ghaut, determined to have dim sum at Victor's Kitchen - only to find out that it was closed (! HGW did not say so!). Disappointed, we took seats at this wanton mee shop nearby.

Parklane occupies two lots opposite each other. We managed to grab a table by the corridor. Orders are taken at the table and food/drinks come served quite quickly too.

I had the signature crispy fried wonton on noodles, served with char siew and bit of veg. This also includes a small bowl of wanton in soup. The noodles were pretty good - just the right 'hardness' and chewiness. The fried wontons are crispy and not too oily, which I thought gave a good balance to offset the overall sogginess of the saucy noodles and soupy wontons. The char siew was quite good as well, but I had hoped for more greens (maybe they do it on request).

Bear had the pork chop instead. The illustration on the menu depicted (and indeed in our photo above) two huge servings of pork pieces, so when his plate arrived in reality we felt a bit cheated because the pork chops are actually quite thinly sliced. The pork-to-noodle ratio was therefore a bit off. Nonetheless, the 'slices' were tasty and tender.

Overall, quite a nice simple dining experience. However we felt that items are a bit pricey, and surely you could find similar-tasting (or even tastier!) renditions for slightly cheaper at food markets.

HGW Link:

Barcook Bakery, OUB Centre

After a sumptuous healthy lunch, I headed to pack buns from the legendary Barcook Bakery at OUB Centre. Apparently it's a rather new branch, and one of best places to open it too - this place is absolutely THRONGED with queues throughout the day, with lunchtime reaching it's peak length. You know it's good when investment bankers and important city centre people are willing to take 5-10 minutes out of their lunch breaks to queue for a bun - this place is that good.

This place is most well known for their raisin cream cheese buns, with bread so fluffy it demands this :-

-: to be played everytime you bite into it. It's so fluffy it's bordering on sponge cake, but yet still juicy and bursting with generous sweet cream cheese. Best taken when piping hot, and the bakery knows how popular it is and so always has tons of hot ones in line. Only $1.30, what the heck.

They also lots of interesting other buns in stock, I overheard the people behind me raving on about the nacho potato mash bun. This unsuspecting little round bun houses a dual chamber of nacho cheese dip with potato mash, which fuse together in symphonic harmony upon biting - yum. Only $1.40.

The cucumber satay chicken didn't house any surprises - cucumber bits over a cheese glaze with satay sauce chicken inside - it's like multiple satay sticks jammed into one bun, very generous with the chicken, really good, only $1.40.

All buns must be tried!

HGW Link :

Salad Stop, UOB Centre

Was my third monday off in a row and as usual went down to CBD to have lunch with Bunny at our new favourite foliage place, Salad Stop. While I usually dislike any form of chain eatery, Salad Stop's portions are always generous and the standard is consistent (then again you can't really go wrong with salads).

After having my first wrap a few weeks ago, I fell in love with it sooooo much more than the salad version. While portions of greens are slightly less (as obviously, more greens will fit in a bowl than in a wrap), the sensation of biting into a Chipotlé burrito-sized wrap packed with all manners of greens and meats and sauce is out of this world.

For just $9.50 for a salad or $9 for a wrap, you can create your own from about 20 kinds of ingredients - mostly vegetables, cheese, pasta, nuts - and there's no limit to the number of ingredients you can have. The only limit of course is that it fits in a bowl or is wrap-packable. I had mine with generous servings of greens, edamame, mushrooms, olives, cheese, couscous, peppers, onions, tomatoes, sunflower seeds and smoked salmon (extra $3), topped with (among a list of over 10 sauces) wasabi honey soy. Absolutely bursting with flavour, ultra healthy, and surprisingly filling to boot.

I managed to nick the last spinach wrap for mine, and I always seem to get the same fillings (mixed lettuce, mushroom, beetroot, beans) but decided to add corn and grapes (?) this time. When asked what dressing I wanted, I blurted out 'Thai lemongrass' from reading the menu, without realizing the strangeness of the ingredient combination.

Still tasted pretty damn good though!

You can pay a little bit more to get 'premium' leaves and fillings, like rocket and roast beef. There are also signature salad and wraps on the menu, with a very interesting Chilli Crab one that we've yet to try.

This place gets crazy-crowded during lunch hours, but the 2 counters and army of servers behind the bar seem to accommodate this okay. Not the cheapest, but definitely one of the healthiest and yummiest lunch joints at Raffles Place!

HGW Link (Marina Sq Branch) :

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Prime Cut, Kovan

Were it not for a spontaneous Sunday adventure to Serangoon for a walkabout in NEX Mall, we would have no reason to step foot (feet?) onto Kovan grounds. After much oohing and awwing at little dogs falling over each other at the NEX Skygarden dog park, we decided to make our way to further unfamiliar territory.

I first read about Prime Cut on HGW - and was immediately attracted to the proposition of cheap steaks at a neighbourhood setting (ie no air conditioning, no GST and service charges). Upon browsing the menu, we were pleased to find out that everything was surprisingly affordable, and quick glances at other tables indicated that serving sizes were decent.

We ordered a medium rare 300gm striploin steak ($18.90) and the Mexico chicken ($9.90), both completed as a meal (additional $4.50 for a soup, smoked duck, fruits and black coffee).

Soup was of the Campbell variety, but was to be expected. The smoked duck was not very duck-like - if I ate it in a blind test I'd proclaim it was ham. Garlic bread was unspectacular. However the combination of all 3 (ie if you place a piece of duck on the bread and dunked it in peppered soup) seemed tasty.

The Mexican chicken was served with my choices of sides: chicken nuggets and steamed veggies. My order was for BBQ sauce - however the chicken chop came slathered in black pepper sauce, which became increasingly overpowering as I chomped my way through. Chicken was cooked well and was tender enough, although I longed for the slight crispiness to the skin.

Bear had the striploin (I did that painting before I started eating) and he thought it was quite good although the meat was a bit tougher at the sides. He also reckoned there was something not quite 'right' about it - which we reasoned was probably the quality of the cut and the marinade. Came with sides of onion rings (blah) and steam veggies. However ths was still very good value for money.

This place is not to-die-for, but certainly worth checking out if you are in the area.

HGW Link :

Monday, March 14, 2011

Tom's Palette, Shaw Towers

Our favourite ice cream place Tom's Palette had just undergone a major renovation and is now more than twice the size! Now there's proper seating space, and proper kitchen, and can display 50% more ice cream :)

This place is one of those hidden secrets of Singapore, that once you find out begets repeat visits - their ice cream is completely home made from the freshest ingredients, no stabilizers, low in sugar (where possible) and boasts amazing flavours like the salted egg ice cream (tastes almost exactly like custard bun (流沙包)) and melt & sizzle (ice cream with pop rocks in them!). Delicious~~~!!! And so good for cooling post tom yum trauma.

Bunny had the pear and brandied dates (as you would imagine, alcohol soaked dates and pear sorbet - no milk!) and chocolate stout (generous dark chocolate with stout beer - very bitter and very awesome).

Amongst their other classic ice cream flavours are :-

Chocolate Sorbet - dark chocolate with no milk, very very thick and very good
Rum & Raisin - generous portions of (real) rum that has potential to cause to tipsiness
Granny's Favourite - one of my personal favourites, ice cream with malt and cookie dough!
Salted Caramel - they do it better than many other places, perfect balance between saltiness and sweetness
Black Sesame - rivals the best I've had in Japan
Salty Yuzu - made from real Yuzu imported from Japan!
Ed's Tea - ice cream made from real teh tarik!

And many many more, all of which are some of the best unique renditions of ice cream ever. Check them out here!

This place also offers milk shakes and ice cream making classes, and has a 73 votes / 93% recommended on HGW - go Cronos!

HGW Link :

Ah Loy Thai #2, Shaw Towers

Probably the only reason we head to the Bugis area is to visit Shaw Towers, which houses two of our favourite food places. First up: Ah Loy Thai! This establishment used to be a hole in the wall, but as we discovered this time around the seating area has expanded parallel to Tom's Palette's expansion (? ok not the best of words, but hope you understand).

We decided on a few simple dishes that we have always wanted to try - Pandan Chicken and Phat Thigh Phad Thai. The Pandan Chicken came first so we were pleasantly surprised by this crispy sweet goodness. Four chunks of chicken were nicely wrapped in pandan leaves, and fried till tender and charred. The chicken meat fell apart so easily, and it was crispy and juicy and oh-so-sweet.

We both agreed that the charred bits are one of the simplest and worst pleasures on earth and proceeded to fight over who consumes more carbon. So good!

Who can do without Tom Yum Goong in a thai restaurant?? This tom yum soup is still one of the best we've had locally, with a spicy kick and mild sweetness, and very very generous portions of seafood and mushrooms.

Finally the Phad Thai came, but somehow under this glistening shining noodles was a slight disappointment. It was too sweet, not salty and spicy enough, and we felt were missing the crunch of the raw beansprouts.

Still, the ingredients used were generous, and we both polished off at least 5-6 prawns each from the phad thai and the tom yum soup, and nothing a little chilli powder couldn't fix to bring the twang back to the noodles!

If you observe from the above photo, beyond the chairs lied our next stop - dessert! Off for some yummeh homemade ice cream to quell our fiery stomachs. More in our next post :D

#1 :

Joe and Dough, Chevron House

It was the bear's day off, and so he braved the CBD crowd to have lunch with me. If you work at Raffles Place you'd attest to the madness during lunchtime. Fortunately one Monday we managed to do a quick sit-down meal at Joe and Dough on the second floor of Chevron House (next to The Sandwich Shop).

Sandwiches are prepared and displayed at the counter, where you go to point at what you fancy eating. We actually wanted to take photos, but were waved off by this guy who stated "privacy reasons" (whatever that meant).

We both shared a cajun chicken and tuna with dill and capers.

The cajun chicken in Fougasse (?) bread was good - the meat was strangely jelly-like in texture, yet firm and tender. This sandwich was probably more value for moneh than the tuna one.

Fougasse is supposed to be brown according to good ole reliable Wikipedia, I'm not sure what country this white bread comes from but it's definitely not France! Tastes more like the kopitiam white bread they use in kaya toast. Maybe it's Fauxgasse, hahahhaha! Haha .. ha.

The tuna with dill and capers in multigrain was okay, but not spectacular. Can't really go wrong with tuna, and it was slightly boring. I personally feel that capers go better with smoked salmon! Granted this is the CBD, but I still wouldn't pay $7.50 for this.

Joe and Dough also serves cups of 'Joe' but we did not try any of the coffees.

Wouldn't return, but would check out the Sandwich Shop for other overpriced sandwiches next time :)

HGW Link :

Friday, March 4, 2011

Fatboy's Burgers, The Foundry

After a long week of work, we decided we needed a little pampering, so went to good ol' The Foundry (just kidding, first time there) at Mohammad Sultan for some Fatboy's - we heard good things about this place, and were definitely up for some burgersssss.

To our surprise the Foundry is a combination of several food places - Fatboy's, some indian place, some thai place, and a bar. We liked the setting which wasn't too crowded for a Friday night, and wasn't too warm too despite having no aircon. Decor and furniture were also bare minimum, and the no-frills-ness really shows in the menu pricing.

In my momentary delusion of hunger, I decided on the Fat Basterd (... just one fat bastard of a burger) while bunny went for the Bushtucker (pork fillet, bacon, garlic aioli). And dear goodness of all right and holy, when this beast came ...

The monstrosity of a burger was only $18, for a burger with ... oh my god, double humongous patties of beef. Double beef all the way ... omg, double bacon. WHOOOOooaaaHHHHH. Double cheese! Aww the cheese is full onnnnnn.

And egg, and a side of awesome self-made fried potato strips (these my friend, were not fries), and interestingly a single leaf of lettuce and slice of tomato - all that's needed to counteract the massive artery clogging this bad beast is going to be responsible for. And as for the burger ... dear lord in heaven this was the best burger I've had in ages. All beef patties were done medium well, and the ultra-juicy patty flaked softly to the bite, with just enough pepper for the aroma and taste.

I couldn't fit the burger-behemoth in my mouth, so I had to eat it like an apple with cautious bites up down left right, whittling it down like a last boss fight. And let's just say, I completed the game. Heavenly, and so bad for you.

While the bear was battling his dinner with delight, bunny was enjoying her burger too. While not as gargantuan as the Fat Basterd, the Bushtucker was generous and packed with flavour. Was so good that the fried egg harboured thoughts of escaping....

The pork patty was definitely interesting and a good change to regular ole beef versions. Was done just right - not too cooked that it was dry and falling apart, but not too rare that it was a bit gross eating semi raw pig. The best ingredient is the AIOLI. It went superb with the whole deal, mate.

Dinner was so good that we made plans to revisit while eating (breaking our promise not to revisit any restaurant too soon), so this is as good as burgers get!!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Macaroni and Cheese

'Twas another I'm-too-zonked-out-from-work week night that called for a simple satisfying dinner at home. As we had leftover frozen bacon from the epic boeuf bourguignon, the choice was clear: it was mac and cheese time! (with bacon, clearly).

Macaroni & Cheese - Fourawesome style

- Macaroni : ~100 g
- Bacon : ~4 strips, squared
- Cheddar : ~120g, grated, cubed, whatever
- Onions : 1/2, chopped
- Garlic : 2 cloves, chopped
- Butter : 1 tbsp
- Flour : 1 tbsp
- Milk : 1 cup
- Mixed Vegies : 1/2 cup
- Italian herb seasoning
- S&P

First up, fry up some bacon! Four strips were used in this recipe, which didn't seem like much in the pan, but was just enough for awesome porky salty goodness.

At the same time, we boiled the macaroni in salted water. Here we roughly estimated the quantity (which turned out just perfect again! more on that later), but feel free to use a more scientific approach of deducing how much carbs you want in your mac and cheese.

Once the bacon is nice and brown and a bit charred, dish it out and set aside. With the remaining bacon fat (do NOT let it go to waste!!1), add in the butter (yes, really) and then the chopped onions and garlic. Stir fry till the onions are a bit translucent and everything smells like heaven.

For a slightly more balanced meal, we decided some fibre is needed in this meal. About half a cup of frozen mixed vegies were thrown in the pan. Stir around for a while to cook it a bit.

Next, we mixed 1 tablespoon of flour into a cup of milk. On lower fire, add this to the pan of oily buttery onion goodness, and stir till homogeneous. Then, in went the cheese, S&P, and italian herbs.

By now the macaroni was already cooked through al dente, drained, and set aside.

Now we added the dry cooked macaroni and BACONN into the cheesy sauce. It was mixed well to make sure every bit of macaroni was liberally covered in sauce. Like so:

Once the macaroni was sufficiently cheesed, scoop the whole load out into a baking tin. Here we used a regular-sized loaf tin, lined with baking paper (which by the way, is the best invention ever - one less item to wash up!).

Topped it all off with a generous sprinkling of breadcrumbs.

Left it to sit in a preheated oven for about 20-30 minutes, until the top crumby bit was slightly browner.


Serve on a plate (floral patterns recommended) with bit more freshly ground black pepper, and enjoy! :D The most amazing part of this dinner was how the macaroni/sauce ratio, macaroni/loaf tin ratio, and macaroni/appetite ratio was absolutely perfect without much measuring done :) Yummeh!
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