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
A proper ending to a Mexican day.
Telling good friends about my Mexican lunch planted the idea of tacos into their brains that they had to have ’em before leaving for their U.S. trip in the morning. As my earlier experience was nothing I necessarily wished to repeat we played it safe and went to my all time favorite.
My lunch had been late and I wasn’t too hungry so I took the chance to try some of the small new dishes they had introduced. Starting with the ‘Tostaditas de Cangrejo‘ which were truly amazing. Big piles of sweet crab meat in a light creamy dressing. The avocado came hardly through but the chili splinters hit in nicely. Cold and spicy, a great dish.
I wasn’t actually planning on having tacos again but then they had a new special one on the menu that changed my mind. The ‘Taco de Callo de Hacha‘ had some nicely pan charred fresh scallops with a great texture, pickled onions and grilled corn which gave it all an oddly interesting and crunchy texture. Nicely done guys, nicely done.
Lucha Loco – Mexican Taqueria Y Garden Bar
15 Duxton Hill
Tel: +65 6226 3938
It was getting pretty late for lunch and I needed a good idea for something somewhere around the Orchard area that would appear satisfying enough. I remembered a colleague telling me that he often gets the ‘Burritos‘ at ‘Baja Fresh’ and since they also have tacos I started my Saturday activities by heading their way.
I instantly was a bit skeptical because of the ‘Subway‘ look-alike setup of the shop but now that I had already come all the way out here in the burning sun I thought “what the heck” and ordered three different flavors, ‘Grilled Mahi Mahi‘, ‘Char Siew‘ (Pork) and ‘Chicken‘. I received a complimentary portion of nacho chips and while they were preparing my food I made my way for the condiments taking samples from the different salsas and loading up on chopped cilantro. Only a few minutes later I had all my tacos sitting in front of me. Because I love fish tacos I started with the mahi-mahi which sadly didn’t taste nice at all. It was unpleasantly fishy which overpowered all other flavors. The chicken tasted like nothing really but at least the pork taco gave me some sort of satisfaction. The meat had been slow cooked tenderly and was pretty juicy so that this was the only one I actually had to use the second tortilla – that came with all tacos – to avoid it all ripping apart. This one was really good even though the tortillas were generally too dry and starchy which I counter fought by adding heaps of the ‘Baja Salsa‘ that had a mild heat and a char tang of grilled peppers.
Well, unfortunately this was rather disappointing and as ‘Lucha Loco‘ as well as ‘MexOut‘ have some tastier tacos to offer and one of them even cheaper, ‘Baja Fresh’ probably won’t see me again too fast.
9 Bras Basah Road
#01-03 Rendezvous Gallery
Tel: +65 8157 4136
AfterworkOUT Bún Bò.
I had been thinking of Vietnamese food for around a week now and so ended up at ‘Viet Inn’ at Boat Quay after a yoga class just around the corner.
It was a hot yoga class so I didn’t really feel like a steaming bowl of ‘Phở‘ today and therefore ordered the semi-cold ‘Bún Bò Xào‘ (dry rice vermicelli with braised beef) instead. I was starving and thankfully this was not a small portion at all, loads of cold vermicelli topped with more loads of panfried vegetables and beef. The fried veggies and the beef tasted pretty good, they were a tad too oily but mixed up with the rice noodles it was just fine. The Thai basil and fried garlic, the crunchy peanuts and the raw carrots and radish added some extra textures and freshness to the whole thing which disappeared in no time.
It’s a normal looking place with no special atmosphere or flair, the service is sufficient and the food was simple but good. Probably not something I would jump in a taxi for but passing by I might be giving that ‘Phở Bò‘ a try sometime.
49A Circular Road
Tel: +65 6536 1847
One bowl at a time.
It was ramen time again and since my birthday dinner I wanted to go back to ‘Miharu‘ and try their ‘Shoyu Ramen‘. I was about to order the one with the special soya but the waitress here was kinda dominant and sort of talked me into ordering the normal standard version instead. From what she said I doubted she ever had tried either herself but since I seem to have a soft spot for pushy waitresses I followed her recommendation and it actually turned out great.
Even that I really liked the soya base of their shoyu broth I was still a little bit reminiscing about that way saltier bowl I had at ‘Menya Musashi‘ in Tokyo, which made my mouth dry out big time. I still found the corn an odd ingredient in a bowl of ramen but appreciated the alien texture it added. The chashu wasn’t really anything special and this time I didn’t even try the bamboo shoots but therefore the egg was outstanding and on point perfect, coldish and waxy. I wonder if I will ever get their noodle process as the menu offers the option to upgrade the thickness of your noodles but every time I ordered a bowl so far asking for the thickest version I was told I didn’t have a choice. Anyway all in all a lovely bowl.
This visit wasn’t my last one here as I still want to explore their menu a bit more and hopefully next time I’ll find the guts to stand my ground against that waitress. One bowl at a time, one bowl at a time.
Miharu Sapporo Ramen
#01-11 The Gallery Hotel
1 Nanson Road
Tel: +65 6733 8464
Brunch hunting in Tiong Bahru.
A friend and I wanted to catch up over brunch and went scouting through Tiong Bahru as we hadn’t been to any of the not so new places that had opened around here some time over the last year or so.
Since ‘Tiong Bahru Bakery’, ‘ODP’ and ’40 Hands’ seemed rather packed at the time we just walked around the corner to ‘Flock Café’ that a friend who lived around here had recommended, parked my bag at a free table and ordered their signature ‘Pork Cheek & Gruyère Sandwich‘ and two sunny side up.
It looked pretty good and because it was already way after official brunch time I hastily took a huge bite. The bread was apparently ciabatta and even that toasted it was very soft, more like a turkish flatbread and could’ve used a couple of more minutes on the grill. I was starving hungry but would have taken the time but at least it tasted nice. I didn’t think much of the gruyère cheese which unfortunately wasn’t entirely melted but the braised pork cheek they used was really tender and super moist also due to the fat soaking from the cheese, meat and juices into the bread and forming a little grease puddle under it. There was supposed to be mustard but I didn’t taste anything and actually didn’t look for it either. It all tasted good but after I had finished it up I felt rather unpleasant and a bit like a greaseball.
It’s actually a nice place, like all these new hip and stylish brunch joints but maybe some more eggs and other breakfast options from the menu would have been a better choice for me today. Now that I have been here already I will most likely check out the other cafes around the area first but might come back to ‘Flock’s’ eventually.
78 Moh Guan Terrace
#01-25 Tiong Bahru Estate
Tel: +65 6536 3938
Back for the groin…ehm, loin.
I came back to ‘Intrepid’ to meet with two friends over lunch and to try their ‘Char Grilled Kangaroo Loin‘ I had spotted on my last visit. I must have overlooked the elevated price of S$38 back then but since I was already here I clenched my teeth and ordered it anyway.
It was a very generous portion and looked delicious which would’ve been fine if my friend hadn’t pointed out its’ resemblence to a male p…hallus. Again clenching my teeth and having a laugh I deconstructed it a little bit on the plate to destroy any misleading similarities and started digging in. There was some light salad and an amazing side of pan tossed veggies with barley that had a great new texture and tasted fantastic, well seasoned and light. The roo loin was wrapped in thicker slices of parma ham which added some salti- and smokiness. The meat was perfectly grilled to a medium – medium rare, was tender and soft and had a light gamy flavor. The peach chunks sprinkled on top reminded me more of baked apples but fitted the richness of the meat nicely nevertheless. Fantastic dish.
I liked coming back here, a nice place for brunch, lunch or just hanging out over a coffee or a beer and if you take the time to have a chat with the people running it you quickly realize they are very passionate about what they are doing, their food, their ingredients and everything else which you can feel and taste as well. Besides, most other mains are rather moderatly priced below or in the early twenties so it’s not just a place for special occasions. Good on ya guys.
Intrepid Gastro Bar
40 Pekin Street
#01-01 Far East Square
Tel: +65 9068 8297
Super Duck Indeed.
It was my ramen buddy’s belated birthday party plus a welcome dinner for the parents of a friend and our duck specialists booked us a table at the Paragon branch of the ‘Imperial Treasure Super Peking Duck’. What an awesome name.
We obviously ordered the signature ‘Beijing Roasted Duck‘ and two at that. As it has it’s show effect they carved the ducks directly at our table with a precision that must come from doing this over and over again. The duck was dished up in three different and fantastic ways. Firstly we ate the most crispy pieces of the skin, no meat, just dipped in sugar. The skin was caramelized and melted in my mouth, fat at its’ very best. The second version were the more meaty bits which we rolled into transparently thin pancakes with crunchy sticks of scallion and cucumber all covered with a wonderful thick and sweet hoisin sauce that beautifully complimented the savory duck. And the meat itself, especially the breast bits, was moist and soft with this light game flavor.
Even that not as delicate and fancy as the first two, the third way of the duck was one of the surprises of the dinner. I expected another average rice or noodle dish using the leftover duck chunks for flavor but here they minced the duck finely and mixed it together with some sort of grain, mushrooms, fresh herbs and spices. We wrapped the tasty mixture into big salad leaves and dug in. How lovely scraps can be, simple and amazing.
This was probably the best ‘Peking Duck‘ I had outside China and after having tried this I can’t imagine why anyone would call this anything different but “Super”. The place itself, still a faceless Chinese restaurant but with a much warmer light and feel than usual. The staff was very friendly and food and drinks came up pretty fast. This might have just become a new place to bring my visitors to. Quak quak!
Imperial Treasure Super Peking Duck Restaurant
290 Orchard Road
Tel: +65 6732 7838
Good looks just aren’t enough.
We were extremely lazy today and so we just walked down to ‘Harry’s Bar’ for lunch.
They had updated there menu with a couple of new items and I was excited to see ‘Scotch Eggs‘ being one of the appetizers. Not exactly according to my diet plan but I had to try them. Whilst we waited for our food I realized that they had brushed up their presentation as well, fancier food arrangements using nicer plates and wooden boards. Unfortunately the food didn’t really live up to the new style. The actual eggs looked pretty weird all bubbly and dried out and had no taste. The meaty layer around them was some sort of sausage that looked a bit uncooked (even that it wasn’t) due to its’ bright pink color. I wasn’t crazy about the taste either and maybe some well seasoned minced meat would have worked better here. The crispy shell though was quite nice, not greasy at all and not too thick either. Overall still a rather disappointing choice.
Next was the ‘Salad Nicoise‘ that I had before and which they now also presented in a more refined way using quail eggs and a bigger rectangular plate. I always liked that the tuna here was not the tin kind but thin slices of actual tuna loin but this one today looked and tasted like microwaved. I also found quite a few of withered salad leaves in there which for S$15+ was a big letdown. Upsides were the light citrusy dressing that gave it all a refreshing taste and the crunchy green beans that had a lovely snap to them.
I don’t know but maybe they should have put a little less effort into choosing the new tableware and focus on improving the quality of the food instead. If something tastes great I don’t necessarily mind its’ appearance but if it just looks pretty with no taste to back it up all efforts were in vain.
1A International Business Park
Tel: +65 6570 5253
My Kopitiam Attempt.
My friend from Jakarta who stayed with me wanted to eat some porridge and I wasn’t feeling too well so we decided to go for something quick and dirty round the corner and ended up at one of my least favorite places, the Kopitiam in Velocity. At least it looked more appealing since they had renovated the whole food court last year.
Looking for something that would be soothing my stomach I spotted a promising ‘Chicken Noodle Soup‘ at the ‘Korean Cuisine’ stall. There was nothing really special about this but it fitted the purpose. The soup was close to tasteless but therefore the natural flavors of the ingredients came out. There was a generous portion of rightly cooked rice noodles, leaves of cabbage, quite nice meat of chicken breast and a very funny squarish shaped hard poached egg. These were all very basic flavors without too much spices being used but it gave me back some of the power that I needed.
I’m not a big fan of Kopitiam and probably never will be but this was quite okay and I might return for a light and cheap after-workout-meal sometime.
Velocity @Novena Square
238 Thomson Road
Finally a decent Reuben!
I had seen a bunch of pictures of sandwiches from this place from many fellow bloggers that I couldn’t get it out of my head, especially since their subs use coleslaw or sauerkraut on them. I somewhat expected a modern sort of deli but this was a rather plain subway style kind of joint, where I had to order at the counter and my name got called up once my sandwich was ready.
I wasn’t that hungry but just to be on the safe side I ordered the large version of the ‘Corned Beef on Rye with Swiss Cheese, Sauerkraut and Russian Dressing‘ or as I would have called it the ‘Reuben‘. Large here meant nothing else than an extra slap of corned beef (could’ve been much bigger for my liking) which was wonderful juicy but a bit streaky at parts. Sauerkraut must be my favorite sandwich topping in the world and also on this one here it just gave the perfect sour note to the saltiness of the beef and the cheese, everything was tucked in nicely. All that was balanced out by the creamy fruitiness coming from the Russian dressing but best of all was that the bread was awesome too, all buttered up and toasted right, just nice. Mainly because of its’ light color I had my doubts that it was actually rye bread, but then again I’m not a baker whatsoever. I also did get a fat slice of pickle with my sandwich but made a personal note to anyway order some extra ones next time as one simply just wasn’t enough.
I’d love this place to be closer to my work or home but for me to make my way out to MBS regularly just for a sub in such a simply setup place they better up the ante on the meat and sauerkraut. Still, it was pretty good.
Sweet Spot Deli
Bay Level, #01-30 The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands
10 Bayfront Avenue
Tel: +65 6688 8584
A surprise stinger at night.
Wow, this was a long day on the beach, in bars and clubs but eventually everybody got tired but as so often pretty hungry as well, so it was supper time. There were not too many options at this hour and since my friends from Hong Kong already had ‘Spice’ the night before and really wanted to eat ‘BBQ Stingray‘ we headed for up ‘Newton Circus’.
Arrived everybody swarmed out to collect their favorite dishes and what came back to our table was more like a Sout-East-Asian buffet rather than a little midnight snack. There was ‘Laksa‘, ‘Prata‘, ‘Murtabak‘, ‘Chicken Curry‘ and and and. It was all good and exactly what we needed but the ‘BBQ Stingray‘ from ‘The Ocean BBQ’ (stall 16) was something more memorable. I had many stingrays before but this one here was super moist and had an absolutely beautiful thick layer of sambal schmeared on top. It still had heat, the chilis and all but was extraordinarily fruity and nearly sweet which tasted like none of those I had tried before.
On top of that the uncle running the shop was a pretty nice fellar, the stinger was awesome and all that at 3 a.m. at night. Pretty good ending to an eventful day I say.
The Ocean BBQ 海洋海鲜
#01-16 Netwon Circus Food Centre
500 Clemenceau Avenue North