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Monthly Archives: February 2014

Pho-tastic.

imageAnother yoga session at Tanjong Pagar ended late and bored of choices I was wandering around the area expecting a dinner surprise around every corner. Starving and after too many corners without anything amazing behind, I took a shortcut through Icon Village to get back to the main road and ran past ‘Saigon Café‘ which looked like it was about to close but the host said that they would still feed me if I decided fast. Done and done.

This was probably the fastest Pho Bo I have ever had as it took literally less than five minutes from ordering to have it on my table. Steaming hot and aside the typical herbs, chili and lime which made me very optimistic about things. Once the temperature was down to a bearable level I started sipping and slurping like there was no tomorrow. The broth had my beloved cinnamon flavor and a lightly sweet and sour after taste from the beef and the lemon. The noodles were crazy fat which gave them an awesome chewy texture and made ’em perfect to fill up a hungry guy like me tonight. Towards the end they became a bit mushy though so I would recommend ignoring the advice from our mothers and just gobbling it down as fast as you can. Oh and the beef was outstanding; lean, heaps and delicious. Great stuff.

Not an eye catcher for sure but the pho here now ranks within my top two in Singapore so I’m a bit envious of all you people living at Icon, in general and for having such a place in your basement.

Saigon Café
12 Gopeng Street
#01-82/83 Icon Village
Singapore 078877
Tel: +65 6225 2340

Nothing kraze about it.

imageMy aristocratic mate and I went skating around Marina Bay scaring off some pedestrians and ourselves and when we became hungry we didn’t want to venture too far from MBS and so decided to go for quick and dirty and have some Korean style burgers at ‘Kraze Burger‘.

I had the K.B.++ mainly because of the promising extra fried egg but what came out to our table was a pale oatmeal bun (special order) stacked with some rather sad looking toppings. The bun was just too big and dry for the small piece of meat which reminded me a little of one of those frozen ramly burger patties and unfortunately didn’t bring many flavours with it either. The egg was overly well done with a bright yellow yolk and quite bland as well and I couldn’t actually tell what the special in the kraze sauce was all about. Admittedly the best things about this were the fresh and crunchy lettuce, the sharpish thick slice of onion and the extra sour pickle, nothing amazing but at least some flavours.

I thought to remember ‘Kraze Burger‘ as being alright but tonight and for the price we paid I didn’t see anything that I would fancy having again.

Kraze Burger
2 Bayfront Avenue
#B2-54/55 Marina Bay Sands
Singapore 018956
Tel: +65 6688 7844
http://krazeburger.com.sg/

These doors are made to open.

imageIt gotten pretty late at the office and I just had finished one of the last yoga sessions of the day realising that way past 9 p.m. healthy dinner options thin out. I remembered that six months old Japanese restaurant next door which I had recognised first during its’ opening week when all the flower bouquets were lined up in front. I pushed aside the little sliding door at the entrance, it was still open, SCORE! It was totally empty and everyone was already cleaning up but they waved me in with a smile and guided me to take a seat.

Sitting at their bar it felt like ages ago that I had proper sushi and it suddenly turned out that I had missed it a lot actually. Therefore I ordered me a generous portion of delicious Maguro Sashimi (tuna), soft and chill, unfortunately a bit stringy at bits as well.

imageProteins done but I still had to secure my carbo intake and it seemed like that Tekka Don could do a great job. The fish was from the same cut as my sashimi just shortly marinated in a special soy mix, fresh and softly sharp because of all the finely chopped scallions. The sticky Japanese rice was amazing especially with the vinaigrette and all in all a proper after workout choice.

imageAs a palette cleanser in between all that fish, I ordered the Oshinki Maki (pickles) which I had expected to be that yellow pickled radish. To my surprise I received something green and super crunchy instead which one of the chefs told me was pickled turnip stem. Never had this but it was great and funny because of its’ scrunch with just a hint of sour.

I really liked it here and felt a bit special tonight with me as the only guest getting all the  attention. The chefs host like gentlemen and entertainers and aren’t shy to have a conversation with you, give  a recommendation or suggest customization of the menu items. I’ll come back here anytime if I feel like a treat and don’t mind to pay it as such as ‘Shinzo’ is also not the cheapest of places. Very nice.

Shinzo Japanese Cuisine
17 Carpenter Street
#01-01
Singapore 059906
Tel: +65 6438 2921
http://www.shinzo.com.sg/

New Mexican in the East.

imageMexican places are popping up all over town and my mates and I give our best to try them all. This was also the reason why two of us went all the way to East Coast Road to checkout the fairly new ‘Lower East Side Taqueria’.

Imagining the usual corn tacos, I’m used to, I ordered three different types off their menu but little did I know they all came in huge and fried taco shells. First I tried the ‘Hake‘ (right) and the generous portion of fish fillet was soft, pretty tasty and not too fishy but unfortunately also almost unrecognisable between the creamy slaw and guacamole. Both of which tasted good but there was just too much going on to really honour the fish itself. I didn’t like the fried tortilla, it was too big and greasy and extremely filling rather than just the vessel for the toppings. Continuing with the ‘Chorizo Taco‘ (left) which tasted more like a creamy version of chili con carne but had good flavours to it. The sausage mix was bedded on a layer of basmati rice which felt a bit out of place especially because this taco used the same fried and filling shell as the first one. The last taco I had was the ‘Pork Belly‘ (top) which reminded me much more of slow cooked, juicy pulled pork than the braised fatty pork belly I had expected but it was delicious anyway, rightly sized and to my delight came in an ordinary hardshell taco basket. The sweet corn and pineapple salsa underneath added some nice crunch and sour-sweetness to it all so this one actually worked pretty well for me.

The place is in a good location for people living around the area sitting in a row with all the other hundreds of East Coast restaurants and the open face facade and outside seating seem inviting particularly for sunny days like today. The presentation of the food is done right but tastewise I was a bit disappointed as I had expected some soft or hardshell tacos rather than these massive fried tortillas that made me feel unpleasantly stuffed and generally there were just too many flavors in each dish for me. The universal idea is not bad though and playing with the ingredients can turn out great, like proven by the pork belly taco, but for now I won’t be venturing too far East to get my Mexican on.

Lower East Side Taqueria
19 East Coast Road
Singapore 428746
Tel: +65 6348 1302
http://www.lowereastsidesg.com/

Blurry burgers.

imageIt was Friday night and we had our mind set on burgers. ‘De Burg‘ and ‘Omakase‘ seemed far and we wanted to have something new again so I suggested the ‘Blur Guys’ down at Tanjong Pagar that I wanted to try out for quite some time now.

I had the ‘Prime Beef with Streaky Bacon‘ burger on a wheat bun and must say I was more than positively surprised and equally impressed. The thick patty was grilled perfectly to a rose and juicy medium, had the right texture and tasted fantastically beefy. It was stacked rather minimalistic with just a thick layer of gooey and salty gruyere cheese and some likewise good and salty bacon, which maybe could’ve been a tad more crisp. The truffle mayo was tasty but too strong and dominant that it nearly overshadowed the great meaty flavours. Thankfully it didn’t so completely and therefore now I have another delicious burger on my list which is worth the calories. “Sidewise” and unusual for a burger joint they didn’t have any fries on their menu but served potato salad instead. That wasn’t a real deal breaker for me but if you prefer your burgers with the fried sticks aside you might want to opt for their Boat Quay branch as I have seen on other blogs they should have them there for you.

I liked ‘Two Blur Guys’, it’s a small burger/cafe joint with some really tasty burgers. The beer selection offers some rare choices like ‘Vedett‘ as well, which makes it a great first stop into a night out and I will surely stop by here again soon.

Two Blur Guys
1 Tras Link
#01-13 Orchid Hotel
Singapore 078867
Tel: +65 6636 4183
http://www.streetdirectory.com/twoblurguys/

Reassuring good.

imageI seem to come back to ‘Ippudo’ more often these days and today I ordered my old go to choice, spicy ‘Karaka-Men‘ with extra cashu and tamago. As they use the same base the strong and rich tonkotsu broth reminded me a lot of their original ‘Shiromaru Motoaji just with a spicy peppery note coming from the miso and ground pork. The meat was not as fine as at many other places but more coarsely chopped so it left an enjoyable chunkiness in the texture pond. Still loved the crunchy cabbage and the comparably hard noodles here and even though this fantastic bowl was my long time favourite for a reason, I was reassured that the ‘Spicy Black‘ has taken the lead for me at ‘Ippudo’. For starters we had the new ‘Spicy Boiled Gyoza‘ which had a great back-of-your-throat kinda punch (I really do fancy boiled gyoza these days) as well as the also new ‘Spicy Pork Bun‘ which pretty much tasted like the original with only some very mild extra heat. It’s great to rediscover things and to realize that you love them anew.

Ippudo SG 風堂
333A Orchard Road
#04-02/03/04 Mandarin Gallery
Singapore 238897
Tel: +65 6235 2797
http://www.ippudo.com.sg/

More of that Caribbean feeling.

imageI wanted to try out ‘Lime House’ since I had heard about it mainly because I didn’t have much of a clue what real Caribbean food actually is and so today I met two friends down here for an early lunch.

It turned out we didn’t pick the best of days as they just had a big party the night before and ran out of the ‘Crab & Callaloo‘ (Crabmeat Dumplings) and the ‘Curry Goat‘ which I initially wanted to order but after a quick brainstorm shuffle I had my choices switched around and ended up having the ‘Red Snapper Eskovitch‘ as main. The extra thick fillet of fish had a nice curry like crust and was still perfectly moist and soft. The coconut cream was overly rich and creamy and the pickled vegetables even though a refreshing contrast seemed a bit out of place but in a nutshell it was still a tasty dish.

imageAs side I tried the ‘Fried Plantain‘, a cooking type of banana, that I really liked actually. It was slightly sweet, like caramelised and had a great firm bite, pretty starchy and oily but an awesome change for a side. The ‘Caribbean Fish Cakes‘ were also super tasty, very small but delicious.

‘Lime House’ is nice, nestled in between with the other shop houses on Jiak Chuan, using turquoise colours for that slight Caribbean feeling and serving up some things different. The food is tasty but nothing I’d necessarily crave for, however that ‘Curry Goat‘ has made me curious enough to come back soon and give it another shot.

Lime House
2 Jiak Chuan Road
Singapore 089260
Tel: +65 6223 3130
http://www.limehouse.asia/