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Monthly Archives: March 2014

Drunkards, party queens & chicken curry.

imageA very old friend was in town, well she isn’t actually old as in literally but I know her from my highschool days and we had not seen one another for quite a hand full of years. Revelling in memories we moved from bar to bar and ended up slightly tipsy and in a place I haven’t been since my third year in Singapore, the infamous Spize at River Valley. This place hasn’t changed a single bit and even though mainly from a different generation now, it still attracts the same bunch of weird night owls including hunrgy drunken people like us.

I ordered what I imagined would be the most satisfying dish for this kinda hour, the Mutton Keema Murtabak. When it came to the table I fiercely tore out a piece and inhaled it instantly before even remembering to take a picture. The thing was huge and the dough nice and crisp, at least on the top layer. The inside unfortunately was overly soupy and had only very little meat in it but mashed up with that delicious spicy chicken curry it seemed the perfect thing for that exact moment and just hit the spot.

If you have been to Spize in the earlier hours of the day you know it’s neither a very hip joint nor anything close to a fancy eatery. It’s a simple place that offers a good variety of decent dishes to feed the hungry hordes that gather here because of the long opening hours. Some come just for a break in between clubs, for others it’s their final stop after losing their ability to speak hours ago and some maybe come here just because they don’t have any better place to be or simply to be entertained watching the other lost souls mingling around. Spize, truly an institution for after-drink-suppertime in Singapore.

Spize
409 River Valley Road
Singapore 248307
Tel: +65 6734 9194
http://spize.sg/

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Tandoori-ing it.

imageWe didn’t really know what to do for lunch and so when passing by the newly opened Zaffron Kitchen at Westgate we thought let’s just give it a try.

Yet another shop where you have to order your food via iPads which is still pretty alien to me, especially at places where you partially eat with your hands. I still managed to place our order only using my pinkie and soon after the first plates were coming in. The start made the Fish Tikka, which to my surprise was made of thick and juicy salmon chunks. It tasted great, less flaky than usual but also richer because of the fattier fish. I thought this was a brilliant twist to an old favorite.

imageWe also ordered the Tandoori Malay Chicken Tikka, which was marinated in yogurt and coriander. The coriander didn’t come across very strong but it was still a darn tasty piece of chicken, rustic charred and tender.

imageLast but not least was a first timer for me, some Tandoori Gobi. The cauliflower was super nice, slightly spicy with a bite and together with the fresh and crunchy onions and some drizzled lemon juice a great change up to the meaty dishes.

I undoubtedly enjoyed this place a lot, so much actually that I got on my colleagues nerves, raving about it all day long. It’s setup like a modern gastro bar with simple and elegant interior in a bright and light room. Food was great too, meat, vegetables and bread, everything on spot and service was kind and fast. You’ll see me back here again soon.

Zaffron Kitchen
3 Gateway Drive
#01-13 Westgate
Singapore 608532
Tel: +65 6465 9880
http://www.zaffronkitchen.com/

New branch is open for business!

imageToday I went for lunch at Orchard Central at the new branch of Nantsuttei and had my old favourite Hot Miso Ramen Extra Hot Tanmen again. It has been a very long time since I had this lovely spicy bowl of awesome but i must say they still got it and it tasted exactly the same as at their Parco Mall location. Additionally the new shop is more bright and modern, a tad bigger and by far much more convenient for me to get to. Great to have you around.

Nantsuttei
181 Orchard Road
#07-12/13 Orchard Central
Singapore 238896
Tel: +65 6337 7166
http://www.nantsu.com/sg/

Too much “Winterspeck”.

imageWe had a birthday dinner for a good friend and his little family and met all at Culina on Dempsey Hill, a nice bistro restaurant with a more kid friendly like setting.

We began our meal with a couple of starters like the Charcuterie Tasting Plate, which was pretty great. Especially the air dried meat and the rillete were perfect and even the weird looking cured duck breast tasted brilliant. We also had the Crab Cakes, that even though small were almost entirely made of crab meat without any starchy fillers and came with a delicious mustard tartar aside to be dipped in. Yum. Unfortunately the rest of the meal didn’t continue as convincing as the Burrata was miniature sized and the Fried Squid just had way too much oily batter on it and overall wasn’t really pleasant to eat.

imageAs main I had the $42 Rhug Estate Organic Pork, which I was looking forward to a lot. Taste wise the meat itself was actually quite good, soft and hearty but with that fancy name and for that price it was just not up there and way too tiny. Since it was advertised as loin I had hoped for a nicely lean piece of meat but on top of the smallish cut of pork was a rather huge layer of pure uneatable fat. Pretty disappointing that one was and the gooey cream sauce additionally made me feel uncomfortably stuffy.

So this was a rather unfortunate ending to a promising start. Don’t get me wrong, Culina in general is a nice place with in- and outside seating and you can also fill up your shopping cart with some goodies from their deli on your way out but if you should decide to go for a meal at their bistro, maybe it’s not such a bad idea to follow our birthday boy’s choice and go for the steak cuts. They had in fact quite a hefty price tag but therefore looked pretty awesome and apparently also tasted accordingly.

Culina Dempsey
Block 8 Dempsey Road
#01-13 Dempsey Hill
Singapore 247696
Tel: +65 6474 7338
http://www.culina.com.sg/

Mango & Amazeballs.

imageAfter a very questionable fish head steamboat dinner my friends took me down Liang Seah Street for some Asian dessert. At first I wasn’t too excited but boy was I up for a surprise. This place was awesome and had a pretty similar menu to Lui Hau Shan which I learned to love so much during my last trip to Hong Kong. I was already ecstatic but the absolute kicker was that here one could order as many of those off the hook squishy glutinous rice balls as wanted. Oh yeah.

I had the works; mango mousse, mango ice cream, sago, pomelo and a batch of seven awesome squishy balls. It tasted great, maybe not as great as its’ prettier Hongkongese twin but surely great enough to make me just a little happier. Cooling, fruity, not too sweet with some bitter pomelo popsicles and heapz of textures going on as well – moussy, creamy and chewy. I reckon they could’ve dropped the crushed iceberg floating in the middle, which was always in the way but I guess when you’re in the tropics you have to keep stuff cool, so no hard feelings.

It was ridiculous and I was so happy to have finally found a place like this in Singapore. And obviously I wasn’t alone as it was bustling down here with a constant crowd waiting on the street for a slot to open up. It was so busy that a while after we had finished our desserts, chatting away, the staff kindly asked us to give up our seats so the next round of customers could get their sweets on. Absolutely loved it.

Ji De Chi Dessert 记得吃
No. 8 Liang Seah Street
#01-03
Singapore 189022
Tel: +65 6339 9928
http://www.jidechi.com.sg/

Burgers of the Rising Sun.

imageNow this was on my long time to do list for two reasons, first because I never really had some deluxe Japanese Hamburgers before and secondly because this place is somehow linked to the guys from Yazawa Yakiniku, which I haven’t been to yet myself but heard only great things about. So today was the day and the lord and I came down here to finally check it out. For how much their steaks cost, the place was surprisingly simple setup, with dimmed light and booth seating options just like at any other casual Japanese restaurant.

However, we both had the Masa Hamburg which is pretty much a high end 200gr hamburger patty (also available in 300gr)  which in our case was topped with a perfectly beautiful sunny side up and served on a hot sizzling plate. Making the first cut right through the middle was amazing as the egg yolk ran down in between the patty and started bubbling from the heat of the plate together with all the meaty juices. Okay so the looks were pretty awesome but more interesting was if the flavors could keep up with that. Unfortunately they couldn’t, don’t get me wrong this was a nice patty, soft with a light beefy taste but nothing that rocked my world and the fried egg, even though good looking, was just ordinary egg and it all was surprisingly under seasoned as well. Now there was salt and pepper on the side and also the onion jam had a nice flavourful touch but for $30 ish I had expected just a little bit more. At least I have tried it now, no regrets.

Masa Steak & Hamburg Tokyo
11 Unity Street
#01-03 Robertson Walk
Singapore 237995
Tel: +65 6836 2529
http://masahamburg.com/

It’s grey at the bottom of the rainbow.

imageLunchtime again and we still didn’t feel like a salad or anything else remotely light and so went back to Paradise Dynasty which I like so much nowadays. We continued sampling new Xiao Long Bao flavors from their rainbow palette and today’s choice fell on the garlic type. It didn’t look very pretty to be honest, all grey, somehow nearly metallic and also the taste wasn’t my favourite of all times. I’m generally a garlic lover and at first it even tasted interesting enough to catch my curiosity but at the second bao I was already over it. It was just too overwhelming with too many raw-ish garlic chunks in the meat mix.

imageAs I had their awesome Spicy Dumpling Noodles already a couple of times I finally brought myself to ordering the Dan Dan Mian, that caught my attention during an earlier visit. At first it seemed a little thin and soupy but when I gave it a proper mix it got nicely thick. Noodles were, as often, too soft for my preference but the other flavors worked fairly nice together, all sesame and creamy. Overall the aroma of this thing was rather light and lacked a bit of depth but probably some fresh leafs of coriander and a couple of drops of fiery chili oil could change that for the better. Well, not an eye opener this time but still on my list of very solid lunch options.

Paradise Dynasty 乐天皇朝
3 Gateway Drive
#02-13/14 Westgate
Singapore 608532
Tel: +65 6465 9271
http://www.paradisegroup.com.sg/