Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Penang Seafood Restaraunt, Geylang Lor 25 (next to Aljunied MRT)

 Penang Assam Laksa - one of the few dishes that make me salivate just thinking about it. After having my virgin bowl of good assam laksa in Petaling Jaya, the search began!

After being to Gurney Drive Restaurant (GDR) and trying the abhorrent one at Laksania Express,  learnt of the 'bestestest assam laksa' in Singapore, and reliably endorsed by Penangites and other food bloggers as well. Even better news - it's a 30 second walk out from Aljunied MRT - woot!

 I know of this place thanks to my sister who one day had an intense craving, googled 'best assam laksa in Singapore', found this place and has probably gone back at least 5 times. She was born in Penang, so no nonsense here!

 Of their 6-7 page menu of zi char items which are all supposedly straight out of Penang, the first page proudly presents the 3 dishes people like us are looking for - Penang Assam Laksa, Penang style Char Kway Teow, and Penang style Prawn Mee. Oh please let it be!

{ Penang Assam Laksa ($4.50 / 5.50 for Small / Large) }

 And then it came, and I was like, "Wait, is it supposed to be this colour?", and  was like "YES". Apprehensive, I stirred and slurped and soon found out ... that this was leagues better than I expected. Better than the one I had in PJ, better than GDR, this - was - the - shit said it was 100% authentic and even better than some she had back in Penang, how is that even-- mind blown!

 Soury and very spicy, super rich and full of flavour, I'm quite literally salivating looking at the photos again as I type. Noodles were thin and soft yet firm, which was perfect with the thick gravy. And the generous portions of mackerel going so well in the sour gravy, and the veges and cucumber for the crunch in between. Why oh why do I stay so far from Aljunied??!?!!

 I'm still amazed by how much fish there is in the soup! The very gao sour-ish soup infused with the fragrance of shrimp paste assured many tears of joy were wept. I can also confirm that both of us cleaned our bowls dry.

 And it's only $4.50 for a small (but still substantial) bowl - less than what some places are charging for the local version.

{ Penang Fried Kway Teow ($5 / 7.50 / 10 for Small / Medium / Large }

 Unable to resist, we ordered another plate of char kway teow to compare, and it was super duper awesome as well. Not too oily despite the liberal-ness of lard, ultra-fragrant and tantalizingly delicious, lots of stuff in it for just $5. Definitely better than GDR.

 Ooh this CKT was really nice and smokey ('wok hei'). For a 'small' plate this was actually quite a large portion, even more so after finishing up an entire bowl of assam laksa each!

 I weep as I walk away from one of the few restaurants in Singapore serving food true to or even better than that from it's origin, and for the price you cannot get any better than this. Even comes with the ambience of a small Penang restaurant. Whole-ley-crap.

Penang Seafood Restaurant
76, Geylang Lorong 25 

HGW Link (44% recommended at time of posting - what's wrong with these people??!?!!) : http://www.hungrygowhere.com/singapore/penang_food_restaurant/
Rating (out of 4) : 

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Cotton Bleu, Jalan Pelatina (Upper Thomson near Lornie)

 As a quasi-celebration for my Dad's birthday, we looked up some interesting places to dine along Upper Thomson and found this relatively well reviewed French place. Clearly a play on Cordon Bleu, but what's Cotton?

 Cotton Bleu can be found alongside a whole bunch of other busy eateries, including another French place called La Petite Cuisine (which also looks interesting! maybe another visit).

 Located near Lornie Road, it's quite a bit of drive down from Woodlands and parking is hellish of course! For dinner time on a Saturday we could only find parking up the hill about 10 minutes walk away to this small establishment.

 They do set meals which were (as I recall) ~$50 for any main, appetizer and dessert, which is a pretty good deal considering you do get to save about $10 or so.

 Amongst the 5 of us, we ordered 2 set meals + 3 ala carte mains ( one not captured D:) + 1 extra dessert. Everyone was fed very comfortably.

{ Skewered Scallops in Fresh Rosemary with Seasonal Salad ($12) }

 With rosemary as a skewer, these scallops were fresh and herby - definitely a good choice for a starter. Grilled just lightly so the outer crust is slightly crispy and meat soft and succulent.

 I facepalmed when someone at the table said the scallops tasted like fishcakes. Haha. No but seriously, scallops were good! Fresh and very nicely seasoned. I thought the rosemary skewers were a great idea to infuse flavours.

{ Frog Legs with Roasted Garlic Puree and Fresh Herb Coulis ($12) }

 A classic French appetizer, the puree and coulis are AWESOME sauces by themselves and go well with the frog. However can't say I feel too strongly about this dish since I still do prefer my frog legs chinese style - with liberal amounts chilis in a stew!

 Not a big fan of frogs - even though this was remarkably close to fried chicken, I couldn't help but picture a fat slimy bullfrog in some pail waiting to be butchered. Sorry!

 Cotton Bleu's very hospitable owner and chef Havré Cotton (aha!) and his Singaporean wife were nice and homely people - periodically asking how the food was, a little small chat here and there - makes all the difference to a restaurant I must say.

{ Rosemary Lamb Rack with Pommes Au Gratin and Red Kidney Beans ($32) }

 On with the mains! Cotton Bleu claims they sell one of (if not the) best lamb racks in Singapore, so we just had to give it a try. Truth be told, at $32 you get two huge chops which is more than generous! Done to medium, personally I felt the meat was still a wee bit tough, but the still so great with the brown sauce and rosemary crust. Though an unfair comparison, baby lamb chops still edge out the win for me :)

{ Bouef Bourguignon with Mashed Potatoes ($26) }

 I felt the menu was somewhat limited, and had my expectations pretty high for quality. Was not disappointed when I tasted the classic beef stew. Very rich and deep in flavour and the balance of wine vs beef stock was just right for me. The big chunks of beef were so utterly soft and you really just needed a spoon to devour everything. If s had opposable thumbs I would put two up!

 This unsuspecting dish turned out to be one of the biggest winners that night. Despite being simple looking, the sauce was full of depth and sooo rich in wine flavour - you could tell from a mere sip that a lot more wine was used as compared to ones from other establishments. Beef was tender and melts in your mouth. My only gripe was the lack of whole pearl onions (I believe they used chopped ones)!

{ Roasted Fillet of Pork in Prune Sauce served with French Fries and a Seasonal Salad ($26) }

 We had to double check if we got the right dish - this roasted fillet of pork was not quite what we expected! While a little on the salty side, the entire hunk of pork roasted then stewed in the prune and olive sauce was another winner for me, with the sauce again very rich and full of depth. As with most pork dishes, please do cut thinly before consumption to get optimum sauce-to-pork ratio! Served with a side of great great fries!

{ Filet Mignon Frites with Seasonal Vegetables ($32) }

 I had the filet mignon - I must say, while it was a good piece of steak I didn't feel too strongly about it. Done to medium rare, it wasn't as tender or melt-in-my-mouth as I expected filet to be, but still a really good chunk of tenderloin (which went surprisingly well when eaten with rosemary). My other gripe was the plate - honestly the depressed circle in the middle made the steak a little hard to cut ^^"

{ Profiteroles w/Chocolate Ice Cream }

 Satisfied with our mains, on with the desserts. Profiteroles were great as well! Choux was firm and didn't get soft and mushy upon contact with the ice cream like some of the ones I've had. And honestly the chocolate ice cream was great as well! 

 This was nice for me, by way of really good ones at Bistro Au Petit Salut

{ Banana Turon }
Banana fried in spring roll pastry

 While not exactly French, the banana turon was ... just ok - as what you would expect the combination banana, spring roll skin, vanilla ice cream and icing sugar to taste like - sweet and crunchy.

{ Chocolate Tart }

 Apparently they serve a pretty fabulous brownie which was sold out (as they were not expecting this many customers on a Saturday evening T_T) so we opted for a chocolate tart instead. And wow-wy, very rich, bitter and only mildly sweet, stay away unless you really love your chocolate (which we do!).

 Love this! Dark and decadent, quite hardcore chocolate yum. Highly recommended.

 Through some small talk we learnt that the desserts were actually prepared by the wife (of course, the one with the sweet tooth!) and the mains by the husband. And with a lot of thought and hard work, they actually change the menu every so often, with special festive menus to ensure that there will always be something new to try. Along with their interesting selection of Belgian beers, this is definitely worth a checking out!

Cotton Bleu
205 Upper Thomson Road, Yew Lian Park
(turn in at Jalan Pelatina)

HGW Link (76% recommended at time of posting) : http://www.hungrygowhere.com/singapore/Cotton_Bleu/
Rating (out of 4) : 
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