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#Seafood

Food heaven on the upper floor.

Crawfish tail.

Crawfish tail.

After that currywurst kick-off at Bahnhof Zoo we ventured further for some window shopping, following the crowded streets all the way down to KaDeWe, which stands short for ‘Kauhaus des Westens’ (Department Store of the West). It’s quite a big store indeed with enough goods for a daylong shopping spree. We didn’t know yet what we were looking for here but it was neither perfumes nor fashion.

We took the escalators all the way up to the top with the intention of working our way through every section back down to street level. Once we arrived on the upper floor though we found an endless ‘food court’ (the fancy way) and a deli section, which should grasp our entire attention for the next two hours or so.

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Guo tie.

Being overwhelmed at first – I mean there was a whole section jam packed just with those awesome colorful fleur-du-sel-eggs – we spotted a Chinese food bar kind of place (‘Silverpagoda’) and deemed it an appropriate place to reset our intentions and just continue with our foodie adventure weekend right here, right now.

We had a serving of the xiao long bao and the guo tie, accompanied by a refreshingly chilled beer. The xiao long bao weren’t as crafty, thinly skinned and pretty but from a taste perspective, I was very happy with them, juicy and yum. The same goes for the thinner skinned guo tie that had a lovely crust at their bottom side. I have been away from Asia quite a while now so those, while not being perfect by any means, instantly hit my sweet spot (yes, that’s my tummy) and if they have had some julienne ginger soaking in their Chinese vinegar, this would’ve been even multiplied. Funny how the small things still matter.

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Xiao long bao.

We spend the following hour taking just one single round on this level full of goodness almost buying everything, ending up buying nothing, but one of the best window shopping sessions I have ever had nevertheless.

Eventually passing through a section of seafood restaurants in the higher price ranges made a craving for crustaceans crawl up on me and thankfully in the next section, just outside, were a couple of fish butcher type food stalls selling similar fair at slightly lower prices. I grabbed me a straight langoustine tail, with cocktail sauce and bubbles to close this fine experience. It was good and I felt classy.

I wouldn’t say that this was the best food I’ve ever had or that you’ve got to go out of your way to see this but if I’m in the area again in the future and feel a light hunger for nothing in particular, I might just come back all the way up here to get inspired and fed.

Get Your Grub On!

KaDeWe – Kaufhaus des Westens
Tauentzienstraße 21-24
10789 Berlin
Germany
p: +49 30 21210
https://www.kadewe.de/

 

Sabei, sabei.

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Pad Thai

On our never-ending quest to find good value Asian food we followed the pointer of one of my food-loving colleague-friends to Chang’s on Grünwälderstraße. They had exactly two tiny round tables out front and we were lucky enough to catch one of them.

For starters, I had their satay gha, two chicken tender skewers with a dry rub spice mix and a nutty jelat peanut dip. Slightly dry but very tasty and good starting.

Next up were pad thai and fried duck in a savoury spicy sauce with chili, thai basil and vegetables. The duck was lovely crispy but still had a thin and jiggly fat layer sitting underneath that scrumptious skin. Sauce and vegetables were delicious with a good, yet not too unique taste to them. That pad thai though, it was, I’m not sure how to say it any other way but AWESOME! This was probably the best version of pad thai I had around here and since this is one of M.’s favorite noodle dishes we had quite a few. It had the right balance of tamarind, prawns were great and there was that certain tang. Loved it.

Get Your Grub On!

Chang Thaiküche
Grünwälderstraße 21
79098 Freiburg im Breisgau
Germany
p: +49 761 1379 684
http://chang-thaikueche.de/

Sawadee-khrup.

[1] Beef bowl with lean beef, meatball, veal tongue and liver.

[1] Beef bowl with lean beef, meatball, veal tongue and liver.

This week’s most anticipated event for me was the opening of Chada Thai’s new noodle shop at Rempartstraße. Even after a few years in Asia, I couldn’t really make out what Thai noodle soups would be like but yesterday was the day I should find out.

We were planning to go with a bigger group but one colleague and I were held up by a spontaneous hall meeting and so the two of us followed the rest with a few minutes delay. Arriving at the shop we spotted our group with no free seats anywhere close to them or anywhere period. No choice but parking our behinds on the comfy waiting benches and hope for some fast noodle slurpers.

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Seafood and beef bowl.

Not long though and we were sitting at our table, ordering food and making ourselves familiar with the multitude of condiments on the table – chilli in vinegar, chilli flakes, sugar (??) and nuts.

My colleague ordered the seafood bowl, which was a heaty tom yam broth, filled with all sorts of water goodies like mussels, prawns, squid, salmon and fishballs. One to remember for my next visit but I just had to go for the beef bowl with all available add-ons, which meant that it was stacked generously with soft pieces of lean meat, veal liver and tongue as well as a bouncy meatball, whose texture took me back to those yong tau foo stalls in Singapore. My favourite meaty ingredient was the liver but the tongue definitely won the contest for most intriguing consistency and bite. The soup itself was tasty strong with hints of that sweet and sourness, typical for beef broth, and the noodles were just right. All in all a delicious bowl, that I’m happy to have so close by.

 

 

So the food was great, that I didn’t even mind the ten bucks I had to leave at the counter here, and I hope that Freiburg will appreciate having such an authentic (oh gosh, I hate using that word) shop around with the friendliest of people serving up some truly great stuff.

Get Your Grub On!

Chada Thai Nudelsuppe
Rempartstraße 5
79098 Freiburg im Breisgau
Germany
p:
http://www.chadathai.de/

 

‘Flotter Dreier’ in Elzach.

Duck breast with mash and broccoli.

Duck breast with mash, broccoli and jus.

I had friends raving to me about this place forever now and so when last week two of them asked M. and me to join them for a double date we instantly were game. The day of choice was Thursday, which by chance was also the day of their weekly ‘Flotter Dreier’ promotion. While in German this has a rather suggestive meaning, here it describes a triple course surprise dinner with a choice of meat, fish or a combination of both, paired with a selection of regional wines.

 

 

I chose meat for all my courses and my entrée turned out to be a brilliant trio of chunky deer tartar, carpaccio of the same and some field salad with candied walnuts and kracherle (badisch for croutons). The tartar wasn’t that gamey but had a distinct texture that wasn’t entirely pleasant but more of the intriguing kind. Paired with the more dominant fried caper fruit (not sure if that’s the actual word) and the crispy bread splinter this was just on spot. The carpaccio seemed more intense but still light and fresh as raw things should be and the playful combination with the sweetish coated nuts was simply lovely. Great kick-off to the evening. [Wine pairing: Grauburgunder (Salwey | Oberrottweil)]

 

 

My main was a beautiful duck breast, perfectly broiled to a deep rose, with crispy skin on the outside and all the important juices locked in. The mash and broccoli where solid supporting acts but the true star was definitely the duck. [Wine pairing: Cuvée (Landerer | Vogtsburg)]

I also got a little taste of the second main option of pan-fried pikeperch, a glossy scallop and the best cream cabbage that I’ve ever had. The latter was warm and cooked but still kept that typical crunch alive and kicking, almost on the edge of raw. I don’t know how they did this but I was genuinely amazed.

 

 

The finishing moves were performed by this extremely capable trio of sweetness. My favourite must have been the lardy caramel mousse, closely followed by the mixed fruit sherbet which showed some strong apricot tendencies. [Wine pairing: Scheurebe (Weishaar | Kaiserstuhl)]

I have been swept off my feet by tonight’s food and service. The ambience is comfortably classy, not detached or posh and also not as rustic as I had initially expected, very easy and convenient to settle in. Big kudos on the wine pairing too. All being great wines, every glass suited the corresponding dish optimally and the only regret I have is forgetting to note down the Riesling pairing of the fish main.

I’d love to come here every Thursday from now on, and if the use of great regional produce, skillfully orchestrated and prepared isn’t enough, it is the absolute steal at Eur33,00 all in that just makes this a major no-brainer. I’m bowing respectfully with many thanks to all involved.

Get Your Grub On!

Gasthaus Rössle
Hauptstraße 19
79215 Elzach
Germany
p: +49 7682 212
http://www.roessleelzach.de/

A gourmet short trip to Italy

Salad & antipasti buffet

We stayed at this beautiful newish hotel at Lake Resia that promised a couple relaxing and tasty days because of the attached mini spa and a daily dinner service with a 4 course meal curated by the junior boss of the house and head chef Markus Strobl.

During the few days we stayed here, we had so many dishes that I will keep this brief and short and let the pictures do most of the talking. Just that, there was a salad and antipasti buffet each day to start off the menu and even though it was mostly the same, every day they had some changing highlight items like perfectly grilled and chilled veal. My favorite picks were the marinated artichoke hearts and that slightly blanched and lightly dressed coleslaw with cumin.

 

  1. Fluffy dark Rye Bread dumplings in fond with oven vegetables and fried parsley
  2. Barley soup with ham roll and chive-gel
  3. Insane Meditteranean swordfish with pea flan, snow peas, and minestrone broth
  4. Perfect Topfenknödel with nougat center, figs, and cinnamon ice cream

 

  1. Amazing ravioli with carbonara filling, truffle aroma, and oven melanzane
  2. Essence of peppers, chorizo-egg-dumplings and carrot pearls
  3. On spot Ocean beef flank, tomato, dauphine-potatoes and oven carrots
  4. Genius peach sherbet, water melon and arunda bubbles from east of Meran

 

  1. Fresh and bio beef tartar, parmesan splinters and crostini, celery walnut salad and red onions
  2. Parsley cream soup, bacon trameszzino and gel of smoke
  3. Lardo stuffed breast of guineafowl, young leek, white bread pudding and chervil mousse
  4. Lukewarm chocolate lava tart with wild berry sherbet and strawberries

 

  1. Celery filled tortelloni, truffle foam, and broccoli
  2. Consommé double, fantastic mushroom crêpe and zucchini julienne
  3. Beef cheek, smoked mash, black carrots and parsley
  4. Farmer yoghurt mousse, ice cream, meringue and acidy passion fruit
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Regional cheeses, chutneys, and nuts

As the salad buffet at the start, the dinner closing was also the same every day, an interesting selection of regional cheeses, chutneys, and nuts.

The time we spend in this dining room was such a treat and I didn’t have a single dish I didn’t like and many that I loved. Atmosphere-wise it took us some getting used to as everybody was whispering quietly at their tables which made it all a bit library-like but after the first night we had some good wine, turned up the volume a notch and enjoyed ourselves. Thanks for a wonderful foodie stay at your hotel and keep being inventive.

Get Your Grub On!

Alpine Diner Restaurant & Bar (Hotel Eden Reschensee) – reservations mandatory
Hauptstrasse 4
39027 Reschen BZ / Resia (Südtirol / South Tyrol)
Italy
p: + 39 473 633137
http://www.eden-reschensee.com/

36hrs in Food Paradise – Hour 26, Raw

DSC01900-01We made it back from Curry just in time to freshen up and head out to meet my host’s buddies at Yabase, an izakaya-style sushi restaurant close to his apartment. A quick meet & greet and then straight into the serious stuff. Starting with drinks I asked for a lemon sour (shoju, lemon, and soda), that a former colleague had introduced me to during my last trip to Japan and with a hint of hesitation and a nondescript smile the lady said it should be possible to organize, and it was. Cheers.

We continued with a medley of dishes including a great quality sashimi moriawase, a tuna and a salmon platter. The latter two consisted of lean to fatty cuts as well as an aburi version each and some fabulous other bits. I truly think every sushi restaurant should have some of those, they’re just the perfect thing for solo eaters.

The next two hours we spend our time ordering random dishes like raw gyu, maki, beautifully made agedashi tofu and sweetly glazed savoury tsukune yakitori. After those were all washed down with cold brews and hot sake, we discovered they even had ice cream mochi dessert and since they were kind of miniature we had a multitude of ’em. The choco mochi were like frozen drops of mousse au chocolate, chewy on the outside and freezy creamy on the inside. A cool finish to an ortherwise delicious meal.

Awesome food, fabulous company and ass kicking service. Great night.

Get Your Grub On!

Yabase
Klosterstraße 70
40211 Düsseldorf
Germany
p: +49 211 362677
yabase-ddf.com

Foodie Wunschkonzert!

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Sushi Kusakabe is part of a fabulous 3-in-1-foodie-experience in the midst of Umkirch, a lil town just north-west of Freiburg. Part of this trio is a hotel (Hotel Pfauen #1) and a restaurant that’s half Thai (Villa Thai #2) and half Japanese (Sushi Kusakabe #3).

We visited this place for our anniversary last year, and since we kinda loved it back then – like a lot – we returned for this year’s happy occasion again.

IMG-20170710-WA0025-02Diving in, we went exactly the same way as 365 days ago without even realizing it. There was a crisp and tangy tempura moriawase and a tako karaage with a hearty spiced, yet light batter getting us off to a great start.

Next up came the main course, sushi galore. I couldn’t hold back (didn’t want to either) and just had to have that outstanding otoro (fatty tuna belly) again despite its higher price tag (Eur9.00/piece). No regrets though as this was a melt-in-my-mouth experience, and one of the best kind at that. Following close behind, right up there on the same quality level, were crunchy, fresh ebi (prawn) nigiri, unagi (eel) glazed with sweet sauce, massaged-til-soft tako (octopus), perfect tamago  (omelette) as well as crunchy shinko (pickled radish) and tuna avocado maki.

To finish up this wonderful meal we chose the papaya with lime sherbet with little pieces of lime peel for a tad more texture, and the thai favorite: mango sticky rice, which was a bit pricey at Eur12.00. That mango was ripe though and sweet, and the coconut sticky rice balanced out that fruity sweetness just perfectly.

All in all another memorable evening filled with amazing food crafted with skill, patience, and experience by sushi master Kusakabe-san. Outstanding performance on the service front as well, and thanks to all the staff that made our dinner such a lovely one. Sure, we left with a lil lighter wallet than we came in with but also with a big fat smile on our faces! 🙂 🙂 See you next year (latest) and domo arigato gozaimasu.

Get Your Grub On!

Sushi Kusakabe – Villa Thai – Hotel Pfauen (closed on Tuesdays)
Hugstetter Straße 2
79224 Umkirch
Germany
p: +49 7665 93760
http://www.villa-thai.de/

 

Back in (baja)style!!!

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I hadn’t been to the shack for a while but the sun was out, I had Mexican-Food-Loving-Friends in town and these guys just had announced the return of the baja fish tacos to their menu. So when we arrived back in Freiburg after a day of exploring the black forest and beyond we headed straight for Stühlinger and one of their outside tables ordering a set of fish tacos each.

I’m not sure if my picture does it actual justice but these babies were intimidatingly ginormous. M. and our friend C. intuitively reached for fork and knife but I was willing to get my hands dirty. After all, these were tacos, right? Flipping up the sides of the appropriately large flour tortillas I wasn’t even able to close them properly above the crisp battered perch but I was ready for my first bite and didn’t plan on letting go of it. This was amazing. I still remembered them vaguely from the BZ food truck festival last year but it was like a brand new experience altogether. The batter cracked under my teeth making way for the wonderfully flaky fish meat that was breezy fresh and cooked ’til perfectly glassy. Just moments after the fish literally melted, and the juices had drenched my hands in tasty goodmess, all the other flavours started kicking in; the creamy chipotle mayonnaise, the crunchy greens and veggies, some sourness coming from that tropical salsa and especially awesome vibes blazing from the fresh Mexican herbs. It was like being teleported to a Californian beach (without ever being to one) for a couple of minutes, sipping on a cocktail enjoying the sun. Oh yes, I am glad these fish are back in town.

On top of an excellent meal the service today was super refreshing, attentive and friendly and on my way out I also finally got to say hi to some of the great people, who are responsible for all this. Thanks so much guys and see you soon.

Get Your Grub On!

The Holy Taco Shack (closed on Sundays)
Barbarastraße 18
79106 Freiburg im Breisgau
Germany
p: +49 176 32970414
http://www.theholytacoshack.com/

Lobster rolls baby.

imageAfter skating around the city a little bit we – not completely unintentionally – found ourselves hungry in the China Square area. I had read about that branch of Platypus here which is a lunch deli during the day and transforms into a lobster roll joint at night. Apparently double concept restaurants seem to be the thing these days.

There was quite a selection of different kinds of lobster rolls on their menu but as this was my first visit here, I stuck to The Traditional, not to let other and stronger ingredients overpower the seafood. The friendly dude, who waited on us brought out some delicious looking plates just a few minutes after we had ordered and the lobster roll was simply brilliant to say the least. The brioche bun was perfectly toasted so it got a little crisp on the edges and turned out to be the ideal vessel for all that deliciousness inside. It was loaded with a generous portion of big chunks from sweet and fresh lobster meat covered with a light and slightly fruity dressing with just a hint of garlic. If to change anything, I would maybe be taking it a bit easier on the butter for the bun to keep things nice and light but that’s just my preference. To add more substance, it all came accompanied by some fresh organic greens and some crisps, sprinkled with that oddly popular truffle oil. Latter was a dash too strong for me half way through so I didn’t entirely finish it.

This roll was rad, delicious and considering the quality of the food and the location of the place also totally reasonable priced at 25 bucks altogether with the sides and even a cold bottle of Sol to go with it; now that’s a “Happy Meal” right there. Next up, The Hickory Smoked.

Platypus Lobster Shack (after 6 p.m.)
3 Pickering Street
#01-31 Nankin Row (China Square)
Singapore 048660
Tel: +65 6438 7961
http://www.platypuskitchen.com/platypus-lobster-shack.html

Yogi sushi, second round.

imageI think it wasn’t even a week since I’d bean here but after another late yoga session i was magically drawn back into this place.

The initial idea was to just have some simple cold somen but glimpsing through the menu and chatting with the guys I  quickly came up with a much more complex plan. Ordering a round of sushi was the start – a wonderful soft Hotate Abury (seared scallop) topped with some tangy mayonnaise, delicious top grade Sake Sushi (salmon) and my first take on some ugly as looking but truly life-changing Anago (sea eel), all so big, covering the rice completely underneath.

wpid-imag6487_1.jpgMentioning that I wanted to have the Somen, one of the gentlemen recommended me a special version of the Sakane Soba instead. These were magnificently unfamiliar and being made from fish meat gave the noodles a unique flavour and crazy fish-like texture too. The chef topped it all with a thin, melt-in-my-mouth slice of Ohmi Wagyu working just fine with the soba and the strong dashi broth.

wpid-imag6493_1.jpgThey were also so nice to let me take part in the last course of their Omakase customers’ dinner and gave me a refreshing and lightly sour Ume Jelly ON THA HOUSE. Great day end that one was, thanks.

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

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/

Last call Boston.

imageI said I was coming back here, I just didn’t know it was going to be so soon but when I told the boys where I saw some amazing looking crustaceans, a plan was made rather quickly.

This 500 grammer looked stunning, neatly arranged and cracked at the right spots for easier access. The flesh was so fresh it effortless loosened from the shell, sweet and just right, neither dry nor too raw. I actually preferred claw over tail because of its’ extra nice soft texture and dipped into that garlic lemon butter it came very close to perfect, if it would have just been a little warmer.

imageBefore the main act we also tried some of their starters. I had a ‘French Onion Soup‘ by myself as the others were stuck in traffic for quite a while and I was just starving. It was strong, rich beef stock, full of red wine flavour with a hot cheesy crouton floating in it that left me with a memorable mouth burn. When the others finally arrived we ordered the ‘Bone Marrow‘ as well, which was another win, well done, decadent buttery with some sea salt, capers and parsley. Just great. I like this place more and more, so see you there soon.

The Market Grill
208 Teok Ayer Street
Singapore 068642
Tel: +65 6221 3323
http://themarketgrill.com.sg/

Proper food at Turtle Point.

imageAfter a few days into our island holidays we switched over to Gili Meno, the smaller and more quiet sister of Trawangan. Our resort there, the Mahamaya, was a beautiful and small boutique hotel with a wonderful reef for snorkelling just in front.

In the evening they did setup tables at the beach for people to have some food in a nice setting without booking these weird staged romantic dinners you’ll often get in places like this and today they had fresh grilled fish as a special. Our exceptionally friendly and helpful waiter for the evening helped us choosing the right fish, which turned out to be a humongous red snapper. It was delicious and finally some proper local style food. The bbq fish was very meaty and juicy and was covered with a flavourful mix of garlic, cilantro and fragrant fruity and mildly spicy chilli. I just wished the heat would have kicked in a bit stronger.

Fresh seafood straight off the boat, stunning surroundings and outstanding service from all staff made this a great start into the second half of our holidays. I miss this place, terima kasih.

Mahamaya Boutique Resort
Turtle Point
West Nusa Tenggara
West Gili Meno – Lombok
Indonesia
Tel: +62 888 7155 828
http://www.mahamaya.co/

Raw fish from around the corner.

imageThe night before our holidays we wanted to have some quick Japanese without too much traveling involved so we went ‘Rakuichi’ at the Oasia Hotel in Novena.

The ‘Akami Tuna‘ looked flawless and had a beautiful clean taste, unfortunately was also a lil streaky at bits. The ‘Ebi Sushi‘ also was close to perfect, fresh and with an outstanding snappy texture. Snappy is also the right word for the ‘Assorted Pickles‘ we had which were a brilliant combination of radish, gherkins, cucumber etc. with only one weirdly tasting purple something that I didn’t find too appealing.

imageWe also had their ‘Agedashi Tofu‘ which was kind of boring compared to others that I had and a big slice of ‘Wagyu‘ that had a nice nutty flavour but was nearly too buttery to eat too much of and sadly quite chewy as well. Last but not least we had one of their special spicy makis with prawn that I forgot the name of. The taste wasn’t bad but completely different to any other maki I had before as it was rolled in chilli flakes and topped with a lot of thinly sliced and flame touched sharpish onions. Not bad, not bad at all.

I like how the place is setup, clean, stylish and minimalistic, they put a lot of effort into their presentation, the service was good and the food was too but for the higher price tag I was just expecting a little more “wow” for our dinner so ‘Rakuichi’ will probably not become my first go to address for my regular Japanese fix.

Rakuichi Japanese Restaurant
8 Sinaran Drive
#01-05/09 Oasia Hotel
Singapore 307470
Tel: +65 6659 6683
http://rakuichi.com.sg/

Don’t let it go to your head.

imageWe came back here and this time after along while ordered their famous ‘Fish Head Curry‘ again. The head was humongous, mean looking and meaty. It was beautifully soft and tender, especially the cheeks that were freak’n awesome. The gravy was quite liquid, milky, oily and deeply rich with a fantastic heat that sneaked up on us the more we ate. A beautiful dish that probably will never win any beauty contest but who cares, it’s the inner values that matter, right?

The service today was terribly awful though. First our order of ‘Naan‘ was completely forgotten, after another 15 minutes waiting the wrong order showed up and when we had pretty much finished all our other dishes and were fully stuffed finally the right breads came along. As always the staff was very polite and friendly but unfortunately there wasn’t even the slightest attempt to service recovery. And then those weird iPads again, which become even weirder in a restaurant where you usually eat with your hands, I just don’t get it. This was the first time of my many visits here that the service was that screwed up so as long as this doesn’t become a pattern and the food stays delicious I don’t see any reason not to come back.

The Banana Leaf Apolo
54 Race Course Road
Singapore 218564
Tel: +65 6293 8682
http://www.thebananaleafapolo.com/

Restaurant Week 2013: Hashi 箸

imageRestaurant week was back in town and for a change I didn’t sleep all through the whole show this time and even scored two dinner bookings which of the first was at ‘Hashi’s’.

There were chilled soba to start with but I missed some grated ginger to pep things up. The noodles were followed by a Japanese salad with a wonderful dressing and a set of sashimi; amberjack, tuna and scallop which were of good quality and tasted fresh and nice. The main was a bento mix of all sorts of different stuff, some of my not so favoured seaweed, blanched spinach, unfortunate tough and greasy cold duck breast, a tasty and soft fried fish, good tempura but the best thing by far was the lovely piece of pork belly that didn’t really have very tempting looks but was amazingly soft and therefore I thought way too small. I also got to try the beef cheek from my friend’s bento which was super nice and tender but really became great with a tiny bit of this jalapeño pepper sambal they handed aside.

imageThe dessert was a sampler of two. I wasn’t a big fan of the red bean bars with chestnut and their super rich and filling character but the red bean and sake flavoured cake was actually quite good and interesting but nearly too small to really wrap my head around it and fully get the taste. I’ll probably never understand this red bean thing anyway?

I liked ‘Hashi’s’ interior; minimalistic Japanese, simple and elegant in the front which unfortunately loses a dash of its’ atmosphere in the back room we were seated in. The food was good and there were many things to try, but besides the pork belly I was just hoping for some more extra specialness from their special menu.

Hashi Japanese Restaurant 箸
46 Bukit Pasoh Road
Singapore 089859
Tel: +65 6327 8414
http://www.hashi.sg/

Beef noodles fancy pants.

imageWhat’s the perfect follow up for a great beef noodle lunch? Right, an equally great beef noodle dinner. That settled I met up with a friend at ’18 Cafe’ in a different corner of Da’an district. This place was completely different to ‘Yong Kang’s‘ coffeeshop from this afternoon, modern interior, spotlights over each table, classy almost hip but still with a nice and cosy atmosphere.

As different as the restaurants were, so were their ‘Beef Noodles‘. They take a modern and fusion twist on their food here and the noodles were no exception. They used ingredients I hadn’t seen in this dish before like slightly bitter blanched spinach, fresh cilantro, some tomato chunks and daikon roots and a pretty darn good tasting meatball. At first I was concerned about that one but it was perfectly soft and had a delicious but alien flavour which I’m sure came from mixed in lemongrass. The other more ordinary beef bits were ok too but he ratio of tendon was just a bit too high for my preference. And then there was the strong beef broth packed with super wide noodles that, like so often, were my most favourite part about this. They were thick and chewy and actually reminded more of Italian pasta than your usual Chinese noodles (if there actually is such a thing).

imageJust before the soup, we also shared their ‘Signature Seafood Salad‘ which was top. Everything was super fresh, the greens were crunchy, the prawns and squid had a lovely firm bite, fish was soft and sweet and the chunky avocado added yet another texture to the bunch. The dressing, even though a bit too heavy on the oil, was citrusy and just simple as I like it.

Delicious and apparently award winning fusion Taiwanese cuisine coming up in huge servings; I didn’t hear myself complain and sure will be coming back to this one again during one of my next visits.

18 Café
No.55 Section 1 Anhe Road
Taipei City
Taiwan / Republic of China
Tel: +886 2 2775 5530
http://www.room18.com.tw/

Double crabs per flavour is only half the fun.

imageMy 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
#01-229
19 Ghim Moh Road
Singapore 270019 ‎
Tel: +65 6314 1868

A surprise stinger at night.

imageWow, 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
Singapore 229495 ‎