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Monthly Archives: February 2013

Just Steak!

imageL’Entrecote on Duxton Hill is a french bistro style restaurant that makes it easy for those who can never decide what to order, like me. As main you can have steak, steak or steak, with fries to be exact. So when I feel like something meaty this is the place that I’m drawn to most often.

Having only one main on the menu made them become pretty damn good at it. The meat comes usually in two servings – one bigger, one smaller – and is cooked perfectly according to your preference. Entrecote is a premium cut from the rib area and at L’Entrecote they cover it with their special creamy mustard sauce which enhances but doesn’t overpower the meat. The fries are thinly cut and crisp and will be refilled as long as you ask for more and together with a small walnut salad all this comes for under 30 dollars ++.

imageAs starters we had the ‘Bone Marrow‘ which comes as one big split and grilled beef bone together with rock salt and toasted bread. It’s buttery texture and taste make this  such a sinful dish but I can’t get around it when I’m there.

imageAs a second starter we ordered the ‘Sardines in a Tin‘. As the name suggests they are served in an opened tin where the sardines lie in high quality vegetable oil. Spread on a piece of baguette, sprinkled with rock salt and drizzled with some lemon juice this creates a great combination of flavors with the sardines as the headliner.

Their house red is a semi dry Bordeaux which is not too heavy and goes along just fine with the food and can also be purchased for takeout.

Come early or prepare to wait as they don’t take reservations and it gets very busy in the evenings. ‘Steak & Fries‘ in perfection.

http://lentrecote.sg/

L’Enrecote – The Steak & Fries Bistro                                                                                                                36 Duxton Hill                                                                                                                                          Singapore 089614

Bored of Chili Crab? Try The Bee Hoon!

imageThis popular coffeshop was introduced to me by some friends as until then my first stop for seafood had always been No Signboard Seafood in Geylang. Their main location is in Ang Mo Kio but we have always been going to Toa Payoh as it was a bit easier to reach.

I was really excited to come back here as the last time I had a proper crab feast was a few months ago and since we were a group of six we could order several different types of these delicious crustaceans.

We started off with some ‘Guiness Stout Ribs‘ that were sweet and sticky and so tender they fell off the bone. I remembered having them before but this time they really made an impression on me.

On came the main attractions. First their signature ‘Bee Hoon Crab‘ (pic) which comes in a claypot and seems like it is drowning in the thin buttery sauce infused by the taste of the crab and hiding springy bee hoon noodles under the surface. The crab we had was the meatiest I’ve ever had in my hands and even the legs were full of sweet soft delicious flesh. Second on stage was the ‘Chili Crab‘ which was sure tasty but a pinch to sweet for my taste. Nevertheless all buns were gone at the end of the meal dipped in chili gravy. The closer and my favorite of the night was their ‘Black Pepper Crab‘. It wasn’t love at first sight with crabs and me mainly because of the messy eating process but once I discovered my love for this Singaporean favorite I quickly made the pepper crab my first choice. And I must say this one must have been the gold medalist among all the ones I had before. The tick pepper gravy sticking to the crab was so intense in taste and so good that I ate it to the last bit together with rice and all the onions inside. Literally finger-licking-good!

I wasn’t disappointed before and haven’t been disappointed this time. What the shop lacks in atmosphere and location it sure makes up for in quality food and the friendliness of the staff who were always smiling and utmost polite. Recommended.

Mellben Seafood                                                                                                                                                   Blk 211 Lorong 8 Toa Payoh                                                                                                                           #01-11/15                                                                                                                                                 Singapore 310211

Quality Sushi No Cost No Fortune!

imageKoh Grill & Sushi Bar in the Food Republic in Wisma is probably my favorite go to casual Japanese dining place in Singapore. Generally I do come here at least once a week as the food is great in quality and taste and when they created the menu they obviously were looking to offer something different. And on top of that prices are moderate and make it possible to pay regular visits.

They offer nearly the whole span of Japanese foods like Sushi, Sashimi, Yakitory, Tempura, Ramen and other cooked dishes but during my many visits I have established a list of all star dishes which by default are put on every order with a few items changing depending on what I feel like.

This time as always we ordered our standards; ‘Maguro Sashimi’ which was lean, sweet, of lovely dark red color and tasted so fresh that it made clear why it is my all-time-favorite of stars. We also had their signature ‘Shiok Maki‘ which is a roll filled with Unagi, wrapped with Salmon and that all topped with Japanese Mayo, Fish Roe and slightly charred. This dish tastes great and different, creamy and the roe crunches between your teeth but when you’re only a party of two the mayo becomes a bit overwhelming after the third piece. My regular sushi selection is a trio of ‘Ebi‘, ‘Slighty Grilled Salmon‘ and ‘Slight Grilled Shuro Maguro‘. The first two never disappoint but the Shuro Maguro stands out as I also never saw it anywhere else.  It is not a type of tuna as the name might imply but a white fish which they marinate in Shochu. They have it also as a raw version but my favorite is still the one that touched fire as it changes consistency and melts in your mouth and you will be happy that you gave it a try. The last arrivals of the standard order were two small pieces of grilled tuna in a light lemony pepper vinaigrette which were perfectly charred on 5 sides and work together fantastically with the thinly chopped spring onions and cracked peppercorns.

On top of this already generous meal we ordered their ‘Tropical Maki‘ which was the only slight downer as there was nothing really tropical about them. I assumed mango being part of it but a quick analysis of the menu picture clarified that it was what it was – Surimi, Avocado and Cucumber. Not bad but just not what I had hoped for. A second extra were the ‘Pan Fried Udon‘. I love this dish as it combines so many different flavors. The plate is filled up with fried udon and fresh vegetables like spring onion and carrots that have the perfect bite to them, sprinkled with tuna flakes and a sweet sauce that reminds me of Okonomiyaki.

It’s good to know there are places like Koh and New Garo out there, serving up high quality Japanese food to moderate prices. I’ll be back soon.

Koh Grill & Sushi Bar                                                                                                                                          435 Orchard Road                                                                                                                                             #04-21 Wisma Atria Shopping Center                                                                                                 Singapore 238877

They Know Their Dan Dan Mian!

imageWhen a friend came back into town for two weeks she was desperately craving for Xiao Long Bao (steamed pork dumplings) and Spicy Sichuan Noodles (Dan Dan Mian). We made our way into town for one of our favorites, the ‘La Mian Xiao Long Bao’ outlet of Crystal Jade at Takashimaya Shopping Center.1348053823044Their ‘Xiao Long Bao‘ are still the best I have eaten, even after they reduced the amount of baos per serving from five to four and making them bigger instead. The skin is nice and thin and the meat tastes very delicate and with a fine texture to it. The most important thing though is the soup hidden in the dumpling, and at Crystal Jade this is by far the tastiest of them all. I burnt myself slurping out the soup too fast through a little hole I bit into the dough.

My friend always orders the ‘Dan Dan Mian‘ noodles that come with a  delicious creamy, thick and spicy peanut sesame gravy mixed with chili oil. You can chose between a wide selection of mian noodles too and they always come nicely springy and al dente.

As I saved space for all the dumplings I ordered their ‘Double Boiled Beef Soup’ without noodles which tastes fantastic. The broth is dark and rich and has a slight sour meat taste to it. The beef pieces reminded me of those which you get in Taiwanese Beef Noodles. It was a mix of lean meat with small fatty parts in between which was obviously cooked for a long time as it fell apart and tenderly melted when squeezing it with my tongue.

The ambiance is a no thrills one, clean and almost cold as at many other Chinese restaurants and the service  is efficient and friendly yet not overwhelmingly affectionate. The food is great though and even if the service was terrible, I’d still be coming back for more.

http://www.crystaljade.com/

Crystal Jade La Mian Xiao Long Bao                                                                                                               391 Orchard Road                                                                                                                                             #04-27 Takashimaya S.C.                                                                                                                      Singapore 238872

Nice Brunch Deli At Mandarin Gallery

imageIt was much more difficult than what I expected it to find something to eat on the first day of Chinese New Year. We ended up going to the Mandarin Gallery where thankfully Jones the Grocer was under the few places that were open that day. We were exceptionally lucky as well as even that all seats were taken we were the first in the queue and did get to try some wine and cheese whilst waiting.

We started off with the “Duck Rillette” that came accompanied with baguette and pickled gherkins and onions. It tasted very delicate and had the right mixture of meat and fat without being greasy.

For my main I went with their “Chicken Club Sandwich“. The bread was hearty and properly toasted, the chicken breast juicy and the lettuce and grilled bacon gave the sandwich a nice crunch and saltiness rounded up with a fried egg and creamy avocado.

Super friendly service, good and quality food, I’ll be back; also to try their “Pulled Pork Sandwich” which unfortunately wasn’t available on the brunch menu.

http://www.jonesthegrocer.com/

Jones the Grocer                                                                                                                                                 33A Orchard Road                                                                                                                                             #04-21/23 Mandarin Gallery                                                                                                                  Singapore 238897

A Bathtub Full Of Ramen!

imageAfter a long day of running errands I was desperate for some grub but couldn’t make up my mind. I wandered food courts and shopping malls but nothing seemed really appealing. Around 10 p.m. I got fed up with myself and stumbled into a ramen shop at Cuppage Terrace – Santouka Hokkaido Ramen. They have outside seating but I was happy they had some space left inside as hot soup and the tropical Singapore weather don’t really go along with each other for me.

I was pretty tired and didn’t realize I was absolutely over ordering for my appetite. I got myself a large  bowl of their signature “Miso Ramen with Kurobuta Pork Cheeks” (limited availability) and in my hunger rage I also ordered extra “Grilled Pork Cheeks” aside.

When my feast arrived shortly after it seemed massive for one person. The large ramen is tremendous and the side pork cheeks are not of small size either.

The broth was nice, thick and rich and I really enjoyed it with loud slurps which is one of my favorite things to do eating ramen. Miso ramen has something different to it which makes it stand out above “normal” ramen for me. If a shop doesn’t serve tantanmen style I usually would go for the miso option.

The cheeks were super tender and the fat of the charred version melted in my mouth. Just the amount of the food was way over the top and made me regret going for large not mentioning the extra grilled slices that should make me feel unpleasantly stuffed for the next 3 hours.

The taste and quality of the ingredients is great here and Santouka is definitely ranging in the upper area of my favorite ramen shops list just the pricing is not that suitable for very frequent visits.

http://www.santouka.co.jp/en/index.html

Santouka Hokkaido Ramen                                                                                                                                 21 Cuppage Road                                                                                                                                      Cuppage Terrace                                                                                                                                      Singapore 229452