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Monthly Archives: November 2013

Tonkatsu lunch at IMM.

imageLunchtime at IMM was getting more difficult because we tried almost everything remotely appealing. One we didn’t get to yet was ‘Saboten’ and since it fitted my newly rediscovered love for tonkatsu I didn’t hear myself say no when a colleague suggested it. After sitting down and before asking a question first thing the waiter said to us was that we were not allowed to customize the lunch sets. So much for a warm welcome.

I ordered the set with ‘Fillet Katsu‘ which turned out to be rather average; the meat was a bit dry and didn’t have much taste to talk about. The cabbage obviously was awesome as always but I would have preferred the usual and lighter sauce instead of the sesame dressing they used here. Miso soup and macha cake where okay but that’s about it.

Food here was only ok and the service came across a little rude so let’s just say there is still some room for improvement here. Bye for now.

Saboten Japanese Cutlet 勝博殿日式炸豬排
2 Jurong East Street
#01-19 IMM Building
Singapore 609601
Tel: +65 6898 3432

My first visit to Ramen Champion.

imageI read about ‘Ramen Champion’ a lot but stayed rather sceptical considering the big number of very average ramen shops in Singapore. On occasion I actually saw some tempting stalls popping up and leaving again before I managed to come down here but tonight some friends and I had planned to finally try it out. Researching during the day, my choice fell on ‘Bario’ because it had that ‘Jirokei‘ or ‘Jiro Style‘ ramen that I ate only once before at ‘Menya Shinchan’ (麺屋しんちゃん) which have closed down their shop at Robertson Quay a long time ago.

The bowl was massive and just loaded with stuff, heapz of sprouts that added some nice crunch and big slices of soft and smokey charred chashu that was good but not more. The thick and porky broth had an outrageous garlic punch that made my tongue feel furred and unknowing as I was, I had even added some additional fresh garlic from the freeloader station as well. “Hey again there Mr. Dragon Breath”! The extra chilli though seemed a much better idea. All this was already pretty great but what I loved most about this bowl were the noodles; they were those thick curly ones, springy and extremely entertaining to eat. All noodles should be like that.

Even that they didn’t do a bad job trying to create a comic style Japanese ramen town of some sort, ‘Ramen Champion’ still has a touch canteen atmosphere to it, also because of the fast turnover of customers, vibrating order alerts and the obligatory plastic trays. Nevertheless I was very positively surprised with ‘Bario’ and might take this as a reason to give some of the other stalls here a chance to do the same.

Bario バリ男
201 Victoria Street
#04-10 Bugis+
Singapore 188067
Tel: +65 6238 1011
http://ramenchampion.com.sg/index.php/portfolio/bario/

Sticky Notes.

imageLast time we didn’t realize that this was such a popular place and sadly had to watch the obviously smarter guests getting their grub on from the outside window. But not this time, I wasn’t super well prepared to be honest but at least managed to book on a Friday evening for two and was lucky enough that the nice booking lady squeezed us onto the bar so we didn’t strike out again. Yes baby, we were in.

Going through the pages of the menu I just kept on ordering more and more so that at the end I had totally forgotten where I had started or how many sticks we were going to get. Thankfully they first plate also brought back pieces of my memory and I was excited to begin in style with their special and my first ever ‘Fugu Sashimi‘ (puffer fish). It was pretty awesome, not necessarily a lot of taste of its’ own but the freshness and pleasant chunkiness of the fish made this a joy to eat. As this was so delicate they probably would’ve slapped me if I had asked for wasabi, but the side served ponzu-shoyu sauce (soya lemon) together with some green onion and other beautiful looking things did a much better job. This was a great kick off to our meal, just the skin was something I could’ve easily lived without as ugly and chewy as it was and since my heart was still beating (even though on a higher frequency) it was about time to bring on the sticks.

I’m gonna warn you right now, this is gonna be a long one.

imageBefore the first skewer, we had some ‘Tamanegi‘ coming, grilled onions, sharp and sweet at the same time with some garlic salt to dip in. I could’ve ordered that all night.

imageFinally the first stabbed piece of meat arrived and without planning it like that we started with the most decadent of choices, the twelve dollar ‘Jo Wa Gyu‘, top grade Japanese wagyu beef. Probably we should’ve had this a bit later down the track to build up the excitement but I didn’t mind this pure butter beefness that melted away in my mouth at all. The smallish portions made even this extremely fatty bits very enjoyable and so delicious that my friend didn’t even wait for me to take a picture before she ate hers in the blink of an eye.

imageThe ‘Shiso Buta Maki‘ (bacon and shiso leaf) was outstanding. I loved the shiso leaf, because it tastes like nothing else and come on, wrapped in bacon! Also the ‘Enoki Wa Gyu‘ (beef and enoki mushrooms) were great, the tangy charred thin wagyu wrapped around those delicious squeaky mushrooms were just a lovely combination. My smile grew wider, stick by stick.

imageUp next we had a selection of the ‘Sasami‘, some awesomely filled chicken fillets; one with wasabi that knocked our socks off and had some additional shiso leafs in it just for me and one with plum that was good too but extremely sour which made me pull some funny faces but therefore prevented it all of just being dry and boring chicken.

imageNow we were on a roll and had three sticks flying in at once: the ‘Gyu Tsukune‘ (spicy beef meatball) that was tasty but unfortunately had some unpleasant fat chunks in it, the absolute fabulous ‘Hatsu‘ (chicken hearts) that were firm but wonderful soft and tender with a hint of giblet gamey taste and last the ‘Sakana Bacon Maki‘ (bacon wrapped fish fillet) which wasn’t too bad but a bit of a weird combination. I’ve never been very big on surf & turf but must admit, that even that it wasn’t really for me, the saltiness of the bacon complimented the milky fish meat rather well.

imageThe ‘Buta Tsukune‘ garlic pork meatballs were amazing, lovely fine minced meat with a hint of garlic. The chicken meatball ‘Tsukune’ weren’t too bad either but the black sesame somehow gave it a bit of an odd texture and the leftover ‘Uzura Tamago‘ (quail eggs) were hard boiled, a tad dry and compared to what we had before rather boring.

imageMy friend remembered a previous visit and suggested the ‘Tontoro Ringo‘ (fatty pork jaw and apple) which looked a bit off-putting with the thick layers of fat on the stick and unfortunately also felt unpleasantly chunky and gelatinous in my mouth. Purely judged from the taste though, this was actually pretty good as the pork, the fat and the baked apple worked fantastically well together. I still had much stronger feelings about the consistency than about its’ flavours so I probably won’t order them again.

imageJust because I missed ‘Okonomiyaki‘ so much I had to have their same titled (‘Okonomi Yaki’) skewer and to be honest they did a fantastic job bringing the aromas of this usually fifteen minute pancake into a tiny little yaki ball. Pretty great.

imageWe were almost full but kept on going strong. I had another view through the menu deciding which of those skewers may be worthy enough to make me explode. For this very important task I chose the ‘Enoki Buta Maki‘ (bacon wrapped enoki mushroom) which were pretty great and the more than qualified ‘Gyu Maki Cheese‘, wonderful gooey and salty cheese, wrapped into thin and crispy charred beef. These were insanely good and definitely the wrong cheesy choice to finish a twenty ish little course dinner. I was so stuffed and yet so happy.

I smiled a lot, which is the perfect sign for a great dinner and even though I had brilliant company and quite a little bit of sake I’m pretty sure that the food had a great deal to do with it too. This was fun to eat, we got a part of the action watching the master working his magic on the grill and enjoyed the cozy yet busy atmosphere of this little shop at Cuppage Plaza. I so will be back here.

Kazu Sumiyaki Restaurant
5 Koek Road
#04-05 Cuppage Plaza
Singapore 228796
Tel: +65 6734 2492

Mexanese or Japexican?

imageI was a bit excited as I wanted to try this place now for a long time and today after yoga I finally managed to hop by. I was a bit disappointed how the shop was set up, somehow I was expecting this hip hang out for the cool kids and instead I stood in yet another rather basic fitted Subway shop like place. Focusing back on the reason I came here for I ordered two halfs of their ‘Rainbow Shrimp‘ and ‘Yummy Belly‘ rolls.

Yummy Belly‘ was filled with crunchy and partially pickled veggies and deliciously sweetish marinated bulgogi beef which tasted so good it didn’t survive for very long in my hands. The ‘Rainbow Shrimp‘ is their signature roll and was a bit more extravagant than the others on the menu. The protagonist was a tempura prawn surrounded by pickled radish, cucumber, sliced narutomaki and other lovely crunchy things. This all together was pretty good by itself but the absolute kicker was the layer of pink fish floss that tasted a lot like cotton candy and weirdly fitted in here pretty well. There were probably healthier choices then the ones I went for but they were really really tasty and I’ll take them up as after yoga grub anytime again. Nice and different.

Sushi Burrito
100 Tras Street
#01-06 100AM Shopping Mall
Singapore 079027
Tel: +65 6543 6860
http://www.sushiburrito.com.sg/

Tingling for your pleasure.

imageAfter my lunch I went outside into the sun to warm up a bit and there it was, the ‘Magnum Pleasure Store’. Dessert decision made. I chose the dark chocolate dip and let them sprinkle it with some chocolate pearls and pop rocks. Latter were a great idea as they made it so much more fun to eat, creamy vanilla ice cream, dark and slightly bitter chocolate infused with these prickly buggers, bubbly and tingling away. It was so hot though that the ice cream melted faster than I could keep up with which resulting in me making such a mess eating it, that one of the considerate waiters came out to bring me some extra napkins. Thanks so much.

Magnum Pleasure Store
1 Harbourfront Walk (in front of VivoCity)
Singapore 098585
http://www.mymagnum.com.sg/

Fatter is better!

imageI haven’t been to VivoCity in over a year and was surprised how much it had actually changed and how many new shops and restaurants had opened up. One of them was ‘Le Nu’ a ‘Taiwanese Beef Noodle‘ shop that was so new the congratulation flowers were still standing around. I was just about to leave for another trip to Taipei and wasn’t sure if it was such a good idea but since I obviously don’t come by here very regularly and it looked kinda tempting I sat down and hoped for the best.

I ordered the standard bowl with braised brisket with the flat broader noodles and to my joy they also had these little side dishes which you always get in Taiwan so I had two of those as well. The cucumbers were great but the chilled beans with garlic were fantastic, squeaky and delicious. Then came my bowl and yet another positive note, the noodles they used were as fat as those at ‘18 Café‘, wonderful chewy and tasted awesome. The broth was rich of beefy flavours and I appreciated the spoon of preserved greens that added a certain bitterness. The catch was the beef, that taste wise was alright but unfortunately came out stringy and dry which also the freshly made signature bean dip couldn’t really help much with.

It wasn’t perfect, mainly because of the beef chunks but these were hands down the best ‘Taiwanese Beef Noodles’ that I have had in Singapore so far and I wouldn’t mind having those again, maybe trying the more expensive wagyu version next time. Best of success and stick around.

Le Nu 樂牛
1 Harbourfront Walk
#02-91/92/93 VivoCity
Singapore 098585
Tel: +65 6376 9039
http://www.paradisegp.com

Under the bridge.

imageFinally it was ‘Bak Kut Teh‘ night since I had heard so much about the fantastic K.L. herbal pork ribs that I always neglected to try because I was a very patriotic supporter of the peppery version that’s so popular in Singapore. Anywho, my old colleague friend, who lives down here now, picked me up and we took a little ride to ‘Ah Wang Bak Kut Teh’ in a picturesque location at a roadside, under a bridge. A bit f@#&ed up but in a “don’t judge the book by its’ cover” kind of way, still comfortable, not yet repellent.

That dish they served was brilliant, even that I could’ve lived without the thin layer of beancurd skin, the broth was amazing with a dense and strong herbal pork taste. The ribs were lean, soft and satisfyingly meaty and we also ordered some enoki mushrooms aside which made a fantastic add-on to the soup that I haven’t had before. I loved this stuff and all in all it was a lovely evening at a lovely dodgy place. Off to dessert.

image

Ah Wang Bak Kut Teh 亞旺肉骨茶
No. 32, Batu 4 1/2
Jalan Klang Lama
53320 Kuala Lumpur
Malaysia
Tel: +60 13 2282 288