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Restaurant Week 2014: Table at 7

imageBecause of work and travels my post backlog grew a little and so this year’s restaurant week checkout had to wait a little longer for publishing than usual. But here we were on a Sunday evening down Mohamed Sultan Road at Table at 7, a nice Central-European / SEA fusion restaurant.

The first course of the selection menu was an amazing 5-Spice Quail. Perfectly broiled with a delicate, slight gamey taste and glazed with a sweetish spice mix. This was a great start and before continuing with the serious staff we received a smallish cup filled with a Black Mussel and Saffron Soup which was creamily delicious except the one whole actual mussel in it which I generously passed to one of my friends.

imageAs main I chose the Beer Roasted Suckling Pig. The skin was as thin and crisp as it gets with the meat underneath staying soft and juicy. The sauerkraut it was bedded on tasted great together with the pinch of star anis and made for some well-matching European-Asian flavors. Rounded up with a richly decadent and warm little chocolate tart paired with some cooling bailey’s ice cream our 4-course-dinner came to a delicious close.

I really really liked it here, the place looks nice and elegant, the service is friendly – even the chef came around and checked how we liked our food – and all above the dishes were not only appealingly presented but more importantly pretty darn tasty. I’ll come back.

Table at 7
7 Mohamed Sultan Road
Singapore 238957
Tel: +65 6836 6362
http://www.tableat7.com/

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/

First lunch in paradise.

imageThis year’s holidays brought us to beautiful Gili and our first stop was Trawangan Island. Down the beach from our hotel was ‘The Pearl Beach Lounge’ which we decided to have lunch today.

My main was the ‘Stir Fried Chicken in Bamboo‘ which was covered in a thick glaze sauce, a bit sweetish but delicious as well crunchy from the cashew nuts, the quinoa aside together with the customized cinnamony mango chutney made great condiments.

imageFor starters I had a chilled ‘Garlic Cucumber Soup‘ which was tasty and super refreshing, perfect for a hot day like this but also quite sharp from the huge amounts of raw garlic which gave me severe dragon breath and made my stomach growl for a little while after.

imageFantastically tasty and salty were also their ‘Waterspinach Feta Cheese Rolls‘ that reminded me of greek spanakopita and worked pretty well together with the grilled pepper dip that gave it a fruity contrast.

This is a very nice place, stylish, extremely friendly staff, delicious food and all at a prime location right on the water, if only just the dishes weren’t so damn westernized. There wasn’t a hint of chili or spiciness to be found even after asking for several different sambal which was a big disappointment knowing how great Indonesian sambal can be . However one of the better places to be eaten at when being on Trawangan.

The Pearl Beach Lounge
Jalan Gili Trawangan
West Nusa Tenggara 83355
Gili Trawangan Island – Lombok
Indonesia
Tel: +62 812 3812 999
http://pearlbeachlounge.com/

Seven Hours, Fourteen Dishes.

imageThis was on nearly every Singaporean based foodblog the last couple of weeks and since a friend asked me to go and I had never been on one of those events we went early Saturday to start with an early lunch.

Where to eat first was already decided before we even arrived  – the ‘Porchetta Sandwich‘ from the ‘The People’s Pig’ (USA). This was one good start of the day. Eventhough they only gave out half sandwiches, those were delicious. The suckling pig like roast meat was juicy and pleasantly fatty with a sweet and spicy chili jam on top that gave the whole thing a bit more punch. The bitter flavor of the arugula balanced out the fattiness and spice and to top it off they added a nice piece of crackling which I would have loved to be bigger. The Inside of the ciabatta bun was dipped in the pork jus which gave the sandwich an even meatier taste. So we were off to a good start.

imageWith the pork sandwich half way down we strolled a few stalls further for the ‘Tacos‘ from ‘Tacombi’ (USA). First disappointment was they didn’t offer the ‘Beef Tacos‘ anymore as they apparently didn’t turn out right in this climate. Second disappointment was that the ‘Fish Tacos‘ weren’t really that good. The battered and fried fish was super dry and so was the tortilla they used. Even though the chipotle sauce was quite tasty and the red cabbage was nice and crunchy I felt unsatisfied.

imageNow it was time for some Asian food and so we head for one of the longest queues all the way at the end ‘Phan Rang’ (Vietnam) with their ‘Banh Xeo & Banh Khot‘ combo. ‘Banh Xeo‘ I already had before in Vietnam and these ones were really tasty filled with crunchy sprouts and vegetables and fried crispy on the outside. The ‘Banh Khot‘ were like little egg tarts with prawns and I wished they would’ve been a bit longer on the heat as some of them were quite raw inside tasting like undercooked omelette but overall still not bad but I didn’t envy the chef, assembly-line-frying both dishes without a break.

imageSwitching back to western cuisine we opted for the ‘Soft Shell Crab Burger‘ from ‘Euro Trash Food Cart’ (USA) and yet another dissapointment – they ran out of their beef paddies so we had to go for the plain crab option. This slowly started to seem like a pretty “incomplete” event. Luckily even without the beef paddy this was a pretty awesome burger once I did get over the fact that I ate a whole crab with everything in and outside, I’m weird like that. The crab was crispy and still moist inside and the thousand island like dressing gave it a nice fresh touch. Just the bun was more the sweeter kind which I found slightly odd.

imageFurther on the western trail we arrived at the ‘Swamp Shack’ which sold ‘Shrimps & Grits‘ and their so called ‘Smothered Chicken‘. The shrimps were mega crunchy with a very dry batter which held up pretty well against the gravy and the grits which was like a corn polenta, nice and fluffy yet very filling. The chicken dish had the same gravy with mashed potatoes but I had a hard time finding some meat in there. Good comfort food with the grits as my favorite component.

imageNext up was ‘Soto Tangkar‘ by ‘Pak Haji Diding’ (Indonesia). The soup was quite rich and a tad spicy but the beef didn’t really cut it as it was too chunky and tough for my preference.

imageNow this was one of my highlights of the day, the ‘Seafood Tostada‘ from ‘La Guerrerense’ (Mexico). On their sign they offered two different kinds but our crispy corn tostadas came with everything on it they had in stock. The seafood topping was a cevice of fish, crab, shrimp, tender octopus and delicious sweet scallops that must have just hopped out of the sea. This was then finished off with a big cajun style marinated shrimp big chunks of avocado and a spicy shrimp lemon juice with peanuts. So delicious complex simplicity.

imageUntil now we had stayed away from the Indian stalls as many of them seemed to sell quite filling stuff but this one looked pretty interesting and so we tried the ‘Litti Chokha‘, little charcoal baked buns with a mix of tomatos, potatos and eggplants as well as some mint sauce to go with it. The buns were harder on the outside and crumbling on the inside and soaked up the condiments pretty good. I really liked the vegetarian chokha as it was nicely light and suited the buns well.

imageAs they had both, beef as well as pork jerky we ordered the ‘Hainan Fen‘ from ‘Hai Ya’ next. Apparently a very common dish from the Hainan province in China but I had never heard about it here. Thick eggs noodles were topped with a multitude of ingredients – beef and pork jerky, cilantro, chives, peanuts, sprouts, little shrimp, squid and a soya based gravy. I realy liked it, especially the jerkies and peanuts and even the tiny shrimp weren’t as fishy as I thought. One thing I would have loved to have missed though was the squid which was also some kind of jerky, pretty strong in taste and hard to pick out as it camouflaged itself as noodles.

imageEnough of the filling dishes we went back to India and tried the ‘Chicken 65‘ from ‘Abhishek’. This fried chicken was covered in a wondeful spice mix with a citrusy fragrance and the sweet spiced dipping powder took it all to the next level. That was awesome and I just wished lean chicken breast was more popular in Asia as that would have made this even better.

imageAfter all those hearty dishes it was time to check out the dessert corners of the fairground and so we started with ‘Kue Pancong‘ (Indonesia) that were lightly baked coconut cakes in a special shape topped with white sugar. I love coconut so this was right up my alley, maybe just a little dry.

imageThe next sweet affair again came from India and was offered by a Singaporean stall named ‘Heaven’s Indian Curry’. They offered a dish called ‘Putu Mayam‘ or ‘String Hoppers‘ which was basically freshly pressed and steamed rice noodles topped with bright orange sugar and grated coconut (also available with chicken curry). This was great and tasted quite light cause of the steamed noodles and the dessicated fluffy coconut with a sweet cover of orange caramelized sugar. If you missed the fair their shop is at #01-15 Ghim Hoh Market and Food Center, 20 Ghim Moh Road.

imageBefore washing all that wonderful stuffing down with the one or other Warsteiner we had one last sinful dish, the ‘Sticky Rice Banana‘ from ‘Nam Bo’ (Vietnam). I was lucky queueing up at the right time as the staff on the fairground told me this is by far the most popular stall and waiting can be rather long during peaks. I really like Thai ‘Mango Sticky Rice‘ and thought this might be similar but here they wrapped banana chunks in glutinous rice before grilling it over coales wrapped in bana leaf and finishing it with a thick sweet coconut sauce and sesame seeds. Eventhough I would have wished for more banana this was a lovely closer to an endless seeming feast and so seven hours and fourteen dishes later (I didn’t count the seconds of ‘Porchetta Sandwiches‘) we finally capitulated and didn’t move too much for a while.

I really enjoyed my first food fair experience even with some sold out items and complete stalls being closed like the Danish pork buns which I was so looking forward to. What really pissed me off was that they re-opened on Sunday again. Dang!

http://www.wsfcongress.com

World Streefod Congress 2013
Singapore F1 Pit Building & Paddock
1 Republic Boulevard
Singapore 038975

Crispy Bebek in Seminyak!

1339224652586We discovered this place during our last visit to Bali out of pure time pressure. We used to go to ‘Bebek Bengil’ in Ubud but for our duck fix but since we were staying in the Seminyak area we didn’t want to make the long drive out there and so ended up here on our last evening on the island.

I ordered their signature special package no.3, the ‘Bebek Goreng‘. Part of the set were also ‘Nasi Putih‘ (white rice), ‘Urap Urap‘ (mixed veggies) and sambal, a real stinger. Additionally I ordered their special ‘Sambal Bledek‘. The duck here was absolutely fabulous, fried so crispy that I didn’t have any problems chewing the thin bones like crackling skin but still moist on the inside with a good and solid duck flavor to it. Veggies and rice were ok but nothing extraordinary but the sambals, oh the sambals. My body always hates me for it but I just can’t go around any sort of chili, sambal and other spicy stuff. The special sambal was supposed to be the burner but I didn’t find it spicy at all. It tasted mainly like anchovies which was interesting but didn’t work for me together with the duck so I attended to their standard sambal instead. This one consisted of red and green bird chilis, thinly chopped onions, all mashed up in oil and drizzled with lemon juice. It was great and hit the spot just right. It didn’t take long for me to breath with an open mouth and feeling sweat drops running down my head. All entirely positive signs of course.

I enjoyed my duck and the place very much. It’s a down to earth and relaxed little restaurant without  that fancy setup many Seminyak places have, yet not quite a warung.

Warung Eropa                                                                                                                                                    Jalan Petitinget No.9D                                                                                                                           Kerobokan                                                                                                                                                            Bali 80361                                                                                                                                                  Indonesia

 

Oink Oink!

imageI followed my friends to Bali this week and yesterday we were driving around the island and ended up in Ubud for a late lunch. One of my Indonesian friends really wanted to try out a popular restaurant for ‘Suckling Pig‘, ‘Warung Babi Guling’. Their main branch next to Ubud Palace was already packed so we continued walking a bit further to the ‘Ibu Oka 3’ branch. It was kinda hidden but there was enough signage and people directing us to find it easily and I must say the atmosphere here was even nicer as it was more quiet and overlooking a bit of jungle.

We ordered the ‘Spesial‘ which is a collection of pork meat, crackling (skin), blood sausage, fried pork, potatos and rice. The pork meat was lovely tender and juicy and marinated nicely with Indonesian spices. All greasy fat was removed from the skin and it made awesome cracking sounds and tasted great. Even that I am not a huge fan of blood sausage and black pudding I really liked this one all over, consistency and the well flavored taste. I just left the casing as it didn’t look very appealing and seemed quite tough. The fried meat didn’t taste like much besides the spicy batter and was rather dry. The vegetables were simple potatoes that were slightly spicy but too soft for me but the rice again fitted nicely with its coconut flavor and and tasted delicious in combination with the meats. It all got even better when we asked for their sambal which was chopped and marinated bird chilis and brought fire into the game.

I really liked the food here and for only 30,000 IDR for the ‘Spesial‘ set I now have a new attractive and tasty option when passing through Ubud in the future.

Warung Babi Guling (Ibu Oka 3)                                                                                                                     Jalan Tegal Sari No.2                                                                                                                                       Ubud                                                                                                                                                                      Bali 80571                                                                                                                                                  Indonesia