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@Bukit Timah

Meatboxing.

imageIt was Saturday and my mates and I didn’t really know what to better do with our time than making the “long” way out to old Turf City – The Grandstand – and try out The Sea Salt Caribbean Deli’ that I had spotted in Pasarbella during my last visit.

I had their ‘Yaroa‘ a large triple meat box which comes including some roasted chicken, pulled pork, beef roast and a starchy side, in my case some rice and beans. The chicken actually looked a bit weird with some red parts around the bones but was succulent and tender tasty. The beef tasted great and had been rubbed with a sourish grain mustard all around. Unfortunately it was also quite cold and had some pretty stringy parts, that were in it for the long chew. My favorite thing in this box was the pulled pork, slow cooked and overly moist, sitting in it’s own natural juices and even something unexciting like the rice and beans was delicious as well.

‘Sea Salt Deli’ is just a stand in a market hall but has some really nice and great quality food options to offer and even though it took a lot of self control not going to ‘Omakase Burger‘ instead I was glad we tried this and will probably return to get a grub on their deliciously looking ‘Pulled Pork Sandwich‘, which my other friend had.

Sea Salt Caribbean Deli
200 Turf Club Road
#02-40/40K Pasar Bella
The Grandstand
Singapore 287994
Tel: +65 9767 8313

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It’s getting crowded on the podium.

imageI often read about this place but didn’t pay too much attention to it because it is a bit out of my way and because it just looked like another franchisy burger shop to me. Recently it had gained increasing popularity and was also voted amongst several “Best Burger in Town” lists and since I was on the road anyway I decided to take a little detour from my way home and give this one a shot.

When there, I wasn’t too impressed by its’ looks nor by the help-yourself-condiments-station but didn’t let that hold me back from ordering their ‘Bacon Cheese Burger‘. Looked quite normal and pretty small to me, especially for the seventeen bucks that i’d just paid but a second later all this didn’t matter anymore as this was one of the best freaking burgers I have ever eaten, inhaled actually might be a more suited description. The homemade bun was pretty small for sure and a bit too buttery for me but this patty was nothing else than perfect. It was crispy charred, almost like a crust on the outside and full of juicy meat on the inside. The texture was great and it was so good and had such a natural and ridiculous beef flavor that it somehow actually made me really happy. All the other stuff on that bun was great too, thick and gooey melted cheese and the salty crispy bacon, but that beef patty was really something else.

Location is off and inconvenient, the setup like at any other fast food joint nothing special and the menu is less inventive than others but oh that burger! Looks like DeBurg just got themselves some serious competition. 

Omakase Burger
200 Turf Club Road
#01-05 The Grandstand
Singapore 287994
Tel: +65 6763 2698
http://www.omakaseburger.com/

Little french breakfast café.

imageOn the lookout for a quick breakfast before shopping we stopped by ‘Choupinette’, the place with the radiant and colourful sign on Bukit Timah Road. I didn’t have french style breakfast for ages and couldn’t go past the ‘Croque Madame‘ which is pretty much a grilled ham and cheese sandwich topped with a sunny side up. It looked quite neat there with that perfect circled egg and the squarish thick cut double layered toast underneath and taste wise it was pretty good as well. Salty ham, saltier gruyere cheese but unfortunately greatly over-toasted which made it all super dry so that I was really glad I had made my sandwich a “madame” as the runny yolk at least added some moisture to the dish. So flavours were good, execution regrettably didn’t delivery 100% but it’s still a pretty nice place for a quiet breakfast off the Dempsey Hill crowds with very friendly service as well.

Choupinette
607 Bukit Timah Road
#01-01
Singapore 269708
Tel: +65 6466 0613

Beef Noodles? Yes. The Real Deal? Uhm…

imageWe were actually planning on a sandwich lunch but one of my colleagues wasn’t feeling to brilliant and thought a hot noodle soup would do the trick and so we ended up going to ‘Liu San’, a Taiwanese restaurant at Bukit Timah Plaza I wanted to check out for some time now.

We ordered some ‘Boiled and Panfried Dumplings‘ for starters which were both okay but not too special also with a much higher cabbage ratio compared to the meat. The panfried version reminded me of gyoza and nicely had a very thin skin. The main reason we came here though were the ‘Taiwanese Beef Noodles‘, a dish I’m nearly as particular about as ramen. This was actually quite surprising, the broth was deep dark and had the typical beefy sweet & sourness with a hint of heat as advertised as the spicy version. My colleague mentioned there was too much soya sauce in it but I thought that it wasn’t too bad for a non-Taiwanese version, but then it has been some time since I had the real deal. I particularly liked the carrots that were not overcooked and fitted nicely in with the other ingredients. The noodles seemed to be the supermarket kind, a bit too floury in taste and texture that left the usual chewiness missing. Last but not least the meat was thinly sliced with a lot of fat which at least was tender enough. I knew I probably wouldn’t get the nice big beef chunks like in Taipei but would have loved them to be just a little bit thicker.

Overall this was an ok choice for lunch, the broth was pretty good actually but beef and noodles could use some pimping. I would say not a bad bowl of noodles even though far from the stuff you get in Taiwan but I guess that’s a useless comment as that is pretty much always the case. Probably coming back but mainly to try their ‘Rice With Simmered Pork‘ or the ‘Minced Pork Noodle‘.

Liu San 劉三閣
1 Jalan Anak Bukit
#01-09 Bukit Timah
Singapore 588996
Tel: +65 6463 1833

Maybe stick to the fish

imageI had friends in town who I met back in 2008 during my first weeks here in Asia and since they are now living in Europe they were craving for some Japanese and so we met at ‘New Garo’ up in Chun Tin Road. As I already had an excessive Japanese dinner one night before I didn’t really feel like anything fish but spotted their cold ‘Hyashi Chuka Ramen‘ on the menu and made my pick.

This ramen was covered with spinach, chashu, a bit to sweet tamago (sweet omelette), fish cake, pickled ginger, cucumber and bamboo shoots and sesame seeds which made it all look very pretty and colorful. It tastes quite refreshing, the noodles had a nice bite and all the different textures of the ingredients made it quite entertaining too eat. The sauce was a light soy and vinegar vinaigrette that I kinda liked it and even that overall this wasn’t really an arousing experience it nevertheless was refreshing and tasty.

I came to ‘New Garo’ a number of times before and like it as a place for decent sushi to reasonable prices so I will surely come back, not neccessarily for the ramen though.

New Garo Japanese Restaurant
6A Chun Tin Road
Singapore 599593
Tel: +65 6467 8905

Bigger’s Not Better

imageI had been to ‘Valentino’s’ before when they still were in their small shophouse at Riffle Range Road and since a colleague and I didn’t have anything better to do tonight we decided to try out their new location at the Grandstand, former Turf City Shopping Mall.

After a lovely nutty ‘Ham Platter‘ and some creamy ‘Vitello Tonnato‘ I ordered one of their off-menu specials, the ‘Aglio e Oglio Linguini Nero di Seppia‘ with king prawn. The linguini were nicely al dente and not too oily. The prawn was humongous, quite fresh but rather bland. The kicker though were the roasted garlic gloves that melted in my mouth and had a nice charr flavor without being to overwhelming garlicy. A bit more seasoning and this would have been pretty great.

imageOut of pure curiosity we ordered a pizza ‘Margherita‘. Unfortunately this was pretty underwhelming. The dough was thin and crispy but the sugo didn’t taste like much and the amount of cheese on top was simply too much for my preference. It was not a bad pizza but from a place with such a reputation I was expecting a little more than just ok.

imageThe ‘Panna Cotta‘ I had for dessert was not that special either with very little vanilla and a bit amateurish in presentation but what I really liked was the berry sauce that came with it. Nice and sour.

The quality and taste of the food was pretty good but because I thought to remember it a bit different and also because ‘Valentino’s’ is not necessarily a cheap restaurant I was just expecting a little more.  On the upside the service was outstanding and the staff super friendly but it was a bit sad to see they had lost a bit of their family run restaurant charm which only small places have and small is not was ‘Valentino’s’ is anymore.

http://valentino.sg/

Ristorante da Valentino
#01-19 The Grandstand
200 Turfclub Road
Singapore 289774
Tel: +65 6462 0555