Double crabs per flavour is only half the fun.
My lovely friend from Vietnam was paying her old home a visit and craved for some good old Singaporean seafood. As the usual choices were getting boring some of our friends suggested to go to ‘Master Crab’ down Ghim Moh Road. I came here before and remembered there was something I didn’t like about this place but couldn’t make out what it was.
We were quite a few people so we wanted to order four different crabs and we already had made our choice of flavours when the waitress reminded me what it was that I had forgotten, ‘Master Crab’ only allows you a minimum of two crabs per flavour. So instead of the four flavours we ended up with only two – ‘Black Pepper‘ and ‘Vermicelli Crab‘ – Boo! Besides that one pretty annoying detail there was not much bad to say about the food. The ‘Vermicelli Crab‘ maybe was neither too special nor very strong in it’s flavours but the ‘Pepper Crab‘ was simply outstanding. The gravy was extremely thick and stuck nicely to the crab which made it all pretty messy but finger licking good and the quality of the crabs was also top notch; packed with meat, fresh, sweet, amazing. They also know there veggies here as the ‘Sambal Kangkong‘ as well as the super long ‘Green Beans with Minced Pork‘ tasted great.
‘Master Crab’ sure is one of the good places for crab – well, at least for ‘Black Pepper‘ – but the impatient and mediocre service and especially the rule about the minimum crabs per flavour will probably make me opt for alternatives next time I want to go for crabs out of the usual.
Master Crab Seafood Restaurant 螃蟹师傅
19 Ghim Moh Road
Tel: +65 6314 1868
I love Meaty-Thursdays.
My good friend was about to move to Hong Kong and so I met her for some last minute yakiniku dinner at ‘Ito-Kacho’ at the Mandarin Gallery, a place is setup minimalistic somewhere between casual and elegant.
We felt a bit fancy so we ordered the large version of their premium cuts ‘Matsu Set‘ consisting of several different Wagyu and US breed cuts. Pretty much all of the meat was fantastic but my absolute favourite was the wonderfully marbled, buttery ‘Wagyu Toku-Jo-Bara‘. It had a light rose color and melted like ice cream, no teeth needed. The second best, even though slightly tougher than the rest but therefore with a strong beef and wine marinade flavour was the ‘Tsubo-Zuke Karubi‘ (US) short rib. Sideways we had the ‘Dashimaki Tamago‘ (Japanese omelette) which was also good and the ‘Kimchi-Moriawase‘ which I loved aside the otherwise mainly carnivory dinner.
This wasn’t too cheap at S$249 for the beef set only but then, we had a massive 780g of beautiful meats which was a very nice treat for a special occasion like this. I have more yakiniku places lined up to try out but this one is surely one to return to.
333A Orchard Road
#04-08/09/10 Mandarin Gallery
Tel: +65 6836 0111
, @Tanjong Pagar
, Guo Tie
, Jiao Zi
, Xiao Long Bao
, Zha Jiang Mian
Hey Dude, where’s my Dumpling Nazi?
I read and heard so much about ‘Jing Hua’ a.k.a. ‘The Dumpling Nazi’ and so a friend and I paid the place with the apparently so grumpy guy a visit. To my surprise the shop seemed to be freshly renovated and really didn’t have anything from an old traditional eating house anymore. My biggest disappointment though was the missing impolite uncle scolding us or something, which I was so looking forward to.
The disappointment continued with the food. I’m a huge fool for ‘Xiao Long Bao‘ (小笼汤包) but I simply couldn’t eat those, thick doughy skin with overly greasy and lardy soup inside. We actually left most of it back in the basket and rather ate the crispy ‘Guo Tie‘ (锅贴) and boiled ‘Jiao Zi‘ (饺子) which were actually quite tasty, pimped with a generous portion of scallions.
We knew we over-ordered heavily but since it was something unusual we also got what they called ‘Chinese Pizza‘ (三鲜盒子), which was pretty much a crispy curry puff-like pastry filled with your usual dumpling mix – pork meat and scallions. This tasted quite great and was really something else.
My favourite however was the ‘Zha Jiang Mian’ (ひき肉みそのせ麺 ) which besides the fact that it could’ve used another scoop of the thick soy bean sauce came pretty close to awesome. Meaty, sweetish, great textures and brilliant unusually thick noodles, that even that I was already stuffed, I wished my bowl would’ve been was bigger.
If it wasn’t for the noodles, I wouldn’t bother coming back here to this formerly traditional place that obviously got transformed into a faceless eatery with oversized pictures of their signature dishes hanging on the walls like otherwise only a big fast food franchise would put up. But I’m hooked now and just have to learn how to ignore that people here are so polite.
Jing Hua Restaurant at Qun Zhong Eating House 京华小吃
21 Neil Road
Tel: +65 6221 3060
Fast Food Katsu.
It was lunchtime yet again and since we liked those ‘Katsu Loins‘ from Hong Kong so much we talked a couple of colleagues into having some ‘Tonkatsu‘ at ‘Ginza Bairin’. The JCube branch was much more a fast food lunch joint than a restaurant with a cut down menu compared to the one I new from before.
I chose the ‘Rosu Katsu Don‘ which came with the leaner pork loin, not looking to appealing but I somewhat didn’t care. The fried loin was juicy and glued in between this tasty savoury mix of egg, glazed onions and sweet tonkatsu sauce. The big boo was the rice not being proper Japanese style which not only made it considerably more difficult to eat but also stole the dish it’s signature texture and taste.
I still liked this comforting stuff but maybe go checkout ‘Tonkichi’ next time instead to see if they use all the right ingredients and to get my free flow cabbage on.
Ginza Bairin 銀座梅林
2 Jurong East Central 1
Tel: +65 6684 3378
Meatball Grand Prix.
It was the second night of the F1 Grand Prix and a friend and I had scouted the walkbout areas for suitable spots to catch the best views of the race when we both became pretty hungry but didn’t want to have any of the standard event foods like the overprized underaverage burgers and such. At the Esplanade we ran into ‘Sauce’, a place I heard does everything meatballs but had forgotten about again.
We had two servings of meatballs to start with – the ‘Classic Italian‘ (beef and pork) with ‘Firehouse Arrabiata‘ and the ‘Old School Beef‘ with ‘Green Market‘ pesto. Both types were actually great, the meat tasted pretty good and they had the perfect consistency, nice and fluffy. The arrabiata sauce, slightly tangy was full of sweet tomato flavor and the pesto with it’s slight bitterness wasn’t bad either. Unfortunately the portions were rather small so we added their meatball sandwich to our order. We had the ‘Classic Italian‘ version again so the meatballs obviously were the same. The bread on the other hand looked promising but was a boring slouchy something, which was quite dissapointing knowing they prepare the much more difficult meatballs rather well and then cock up on the bread sourcing. I probably would also recommend to take it easy on the cheese as it strongly overpowered the great meaty taste.
Anyways, meatballs top, sandwich flop! The service was messed up but let’s just blame that on the customer overload during the formula 1 and the outer and interior design isn’t really worth mentioning either. However I’ll probably give it another try for a quick meatball snack.
8 Raffles Avenue
Tel: +65 6837 2959
Birthday Blunch at Dempsey.
A friend from Hong Kong came over on her birthday for a business trip this week so we gathered the troops for a birthday brunch/lunch at ‘Dempsey House’. It was a beautiful Saturday morning and I saw some tired faces in our round but nothing that a ‘Pineapple Pitstop‘ or a ‘Bloody Mary‘ couldn’t fix.
It felt a bit too late for brunch so I ordered their ‘Braised Pork Shoulder Rigatoni‘ which came on a nice looking, interestingly shaped plate. The pasta was slightly past al dente but the pork was braised nicely, tender and soft. The creamy tomato sauce glazing it all was quite tasty and light with a meaty flavor but I wished they would’ve been a bit more generous with it. Aside I had their ‘Coleslaw with Green Papaya‘ which in contrast to the pasta was lovely crunchy spicy and a mix of textures and Western-Asian flavors.
‘House’ has a great setting within the greenery on the back of Dempsey Hill. Today the service somehow was irritatingly slow and seemed slightly confused, the food and drinks though were nice but as in most places up here a bit on the pricey side. Still a good choice for weekend mornings.
8D Dempsey Road
Tel: +65 6475 7787
Ad hoc yakitori.
We wanted to go to check out ‘Kazu’ at Cuppage Plaza and naively thought we would get in without a reservation. Ya, we didn’t and so made our way down story by story looking for an alternative. There used to be another yakitori place on the ground level which had moved out but ‘Shinjuku’ that took it’s place also had some meat on sticks on offer so we settled for this.
We had some ‘Yakitori‘ for starters; there was oddly tasting bacon wrapped asparagus, some okay chicken and leek but the winner here were the chicken meatballs. At first I hesitated ordering them but was very happy I did. They had a soft texture, were well seasoned and covered in a wonderfully sweet and savory glaze. Seldom had tasty chicken like that before.
I found ‘Mince Katsu‘ on the menu which wasn’t very nicely presented at all but I didn’t care as it actually tasted pretty great. The minced pork was rich but not greasy and dipping it into the brilliantly sweet tonkatsu sauce finished the job.
Other than that the ‘Sashimi‘ was alright, as were the ‘Udon‘, the ‘Wagyu Steak‘ was buttery good but not too special but the ‘Japanese Pickles‘ – cucumber, radish, cabbage and eggplant – i just loved them, as I do, maybe except the eggplant which was weird.
We weren’t too disappointed with our evening in the end also because the staff was super nice and understanding even when the noise level increased dramatically after inhaling a li’l too much of their sake. Thanks for the nice fun evening.
Shinjuku Restaurant 新宿
5 Koek Road
#01-01/02 Cuppage Plaza
Tel: +65 6734 8436