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@CBD

Klein aber fein.

imageMany people had recommended this place and tonight one of my pals organized a table for a whole bunch of our friends just to cancel on us like 20 minutes before. We took it lightly and concentrated on the menu choosing a couple of starters like the cold cut platter above with some awesome Prosciutto San Daniele with Pickled Pears that worked beautifully together. We also had some Parma Ham and my favorite Black Pork Capocollo, perfectly seasoned and salty cured meat. Contrasting this a little we also ordered some fruity and creamy Cherry Tomato & Avocado Buschetta that were pleasantly spicy.

imageMoving on to something meaty we had the Iberico Pork Belly which was quick seared to crisp perfection. Unfortunately the fatty parts were rather hard ish chunky and came across a bit too greasy so I was pretty much over it after one piece.

imageSince their pasta dishes are rather primi piatti sized we ordered one each and shared. I chose the Paccheri, Iberico Pork & Truffle. I loved how the ultimately fat flat noodles were arranged in some sort of basket shape keeping the fluffy mix of cream sauce and pulled pork inside. Great taste with the truffles not being too strong but the sauce was just so rich and stuffing that I couldn’t eat too much of it.

imageMy absolute winner was the crazy good Sea Urchin Spaghetti Carbonara. Even though very rich as well somehow it was just right and the uni, undeniably the main character, was not too overwhelming and therefore extremely enjoyable to eat. Maybe just the pasta could have hopped out the boiling water half a minute earlier but that aside, this was some truly great stuff.

To close we had a variety of cheeses and dried fruits. I’m pretty new to non-melted cheese, that isn’t on a pizza or a sandwich but I’m slowly getting used to the consistency and starting to appreciate the stronger flavors. I didn’t dare to touch the blue cheese yet but all others, which name’s I have forgotten were actually pretty good.

&Sons is a nice and hip place in a bustling neighborhood surrounded by a lot of busy restaurants and bars filled by the afterwork crowds from the business district. The waiters were actually pretty funny and the food delicious so what else do you need? I for one will come back for seconds of that fantastic Uni Carbonara soon.

@Sons (Bacaro)
20 Cross Street
#01-19 China Square Central
Singapore 048422
Tel: +65 6221 3937
http://sons.com.sg/

Groundhog Steak.

imageYaya I know, Market Grill AGAIN!? But I couldn’t help it; I had told my friend so much about my last two visits here that she really wanted to try it and I just couldn’t come up with any good reason why not to. And I can’t even remember what exactly my dish was called, just that it was on the special’s board that night. The beef was fantastic though, a l’entrećote cut, broiled to a perfect medium rare with a nice char, bloody and juicy and topped with a thick truffle infused lentil gravy. I absolutely enjoyed the meat and the gravy was pretty interesting but somehow the strong fancy truffle flavors didn’t really work for me with the rather rustic lentils. Nevertheless a good dish overall.

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

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

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

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/

Mexanese or Japexican?

imageI was a bit excited as I wanted to try this place now for a long time and today after yoga I finally managed to hop by. I was a bit disappointed how the shop was set up, somehow I was expecting this hip hang out for the cool kids and instead I stood in yet another rather basic fitted Subway shop like place. Focusing back on the reason I came here for I ordered two halfs of their ‘Rainbow Shrimp‘ and ‘Yummy Belly‘ rolls.

Yummy Belly‘ was filled with crunchy and partially pickled veggies and deliciously sweetish marinated bulgogi beef which tasted so good it didn’t survive for very long in my hands. The ‘Rainbow Shrimp‘ is their signature roll and was a bit more extravagant than the others on the menu. The protagonist was a tempura prawn surrounded by pickled radish, cucumber, sliced narutomaki and other lovely crunchy things. This all together was pretty good by itself but the absolute kicker was the layer of pink fish floss that tasted a lot like cotton candy and weirdly fitted in here pretty well. There were probably healthier choices then the ones I went for but they were really really tasty and I’ll take them up as after yoga grub anytime again. Nice and different.

Sushi Burrito
100 Tras Street
#01-06 100AM Shopping Mall
Singapore 079027
Tel: +65 6543 6860
http://www.sushiburrito.com.sg/

A great friend recommend.

imageFriends invited us to join them for Vietnamese dinner tonight at ‘Viet Express’ at China Square and even though I was a bit worried about that unpromising name I was confident that our friends would’t bring us to something boring. It actually didn’t look like an “Express” kinda place more simple and a bit frumpy but the food here was really a surprise. I ordered my all time favourite,  ‘Pho Bo‘ with sliced raw meat. First slurp and it had me, this was the best pho I have had in Singapore to date, nicely infused with cinnamon and with this light beefy sour taste. It got even better after I threw the side greens and a good dash of the chilli and oyster sauce into it. The sharp onions and some fresh chilli made it nicely spicy, the beef was lean and tender, alone the noodles were nothing surprising. Service related I wouldn’t know what to write about really as besides serving the food we ordered pretty much nothing else happened but some things are just secondary after a delicious meal. Thanks A. and D., this one comes on the list.

Viet Express
3 Pickering Street
#01-34 China Square Central (Nankin Row)
Singapore 048423
Tel: +65 6536 9114

Refuelling awesomeness.

imageOh man I missed this place and finally I made it back here on a day they were actually making their beautiful noodles. I was psyched and first up I had to have the ‘Dan Dan Mian‘ or ‘Spicy Sichuan Noodles‘ how it says on the board. The noodles were freshly handmade and nice and soft, maybe a bit too soft. The gravy was insane, just mildly spicy but enough to squeeze some drops of sweat out the back of my head, thick and rich and full of peanut sesame flavour. The savoury pork mince on top together with some crushed peanuts, fresh chives and cilantro finished the job just nicely.

imageI was already pretty filled up but not finished just yet as I also wanted to finally try their ‘Zha Jiang Mian‘. The bowl was loaded with freshly thin shredded spring onion and cucumbers sitting on beautifully thick and gooey minced meat soya bean sauce that was lukewarm and made this a great dish for the tropical heat today. I know this all sounds like raving and exaggerating but I really think it’s that darn good, M. this one’s for you.

image

Zhong Guo La Mian Xiao Long Bao 中国拉面小笼包
335 Smith Street
#02-135 Chinatown Complex Food Center
Singapore 050335

AfterworkOUT Bún Bò.

imageI had been thinking of Vietnamese food for around a week now and so ended up at ‘Viet Inn’ at Boat Quay after a yoga class just around the corner.

It was a hot yoga class so I didn’t really feel like a steaming bowl of ‘Phở‘ today and therefore ordered the semi-cold ‘Bún Bò Xào‘ (dry rice vermicelli with braised beef) instead. I was starving and thankfully this was not a small portion at all, loads of cold vermicelli topped with more loads of panfried vegetables and beef. The fried veggies and the beef tasted pretty good, they were a tad too oily but mixed up with the rice noodles it was just fine. The Thai basil and fried garlic, the  crunchy peanuts and the raw carrots and radish added some extra textures and freshness  to the whole thing which disappeared in no time.

It’s a normal looking place with no special atmosphere or flair, the service is sufficient and the food was simple but good. Probably not something I would jump in a taxi for but passing by I might be giving that ‘Phở Bò‘ a try sometime.

Viet Inn
49A Circular Road
Singapore 049404
Tel: +65 6536 1847

Back for the groin…ehm, loin.

 imageI came back to ‘Intrepid’ to meet with two friends over lunch and to try their ‘Char Grilled Kangaroo Loin‘ I had spotted on my last visit. I must have overlooked the elevated price of S$38 back then but since I was already here I clenched my teeth and ordered it anyway.

It was a very generous portion and looked delicious which would’ve been fine if my friend hadn’t pointed out its’ resemblence to a male p…hallus. Again clenching my teeth and having a laugh I deconstructed it a little bit on the plate to destroy any misleading similarities and started digging in. There was some light salad and an amazing side of pan tossed veggies with barley that had a great new texture and tasted fantastic, well seasoned and light. The roo loin was wrapped in thicker slices of parma ham which added some salti- and smokiness. The meat was perfectly grilled to a medium – medium rare, was tender and soft and had a light gamy flavor. The peach chunks sprinkled on top reminded me more of baked apples but fitted the richness of the meat nicely nevertheless. Fantastic dish.

I liked coming back here, a nice place for brunch, lunch or just hanging out over a coffee or a beer and if you take the time to have a chat with the people running it you quickly realize they are very passionate about what they are doing, their food, their ingredients and everything else which you can feel and taste as well. Besides, most other mains are rather moderatly priced below or in the early twenties so it’s not just a place for special occasions. Good on ya guys.

Intrepid Gastro Bar
40 Pekin Street
#01-01 Far East Square
Singapore 048770
Tel: +65 9068 8297

Yeah Baby, Another Taco Shop!

imageWhen dining at ‘Intrepid’ yesterday we recognized this Mexican place next door and came back for it with more friends tonight. They have a built-your-own menu for ‘Burritos‘, ‘Tacos‘, ‘Rice and Salad Bowls‘ as well as ‘Nachos‘ but my radar was all on the ‘Tacos‘ tonight.

I went with slab of ‘Tacos’ that come in three and mixed and matched a little to get a better idea of the flavors their menu has to offer. The first one was braised pork with cabbage and salsa fresca. It tasted nicely fruity and the meat was super juicy as they cook it in orange juice but the salsa fresca was not much more than just diced tomatos, onions and cucumbers. As second I had one with flank steak and the salsa verde. The meat was more chunky and didn’t have a very beefy or particularly special taste. I liked the salsa verde though as it was fresh and quite tangy in after taste. The last and by far my most favorite combination was the one with the beef brisket and mango pineapple salsa. The slow roasted brisket tasted fantastic and was very moist, the shredded cabbage added a nice crunchy texture to it and the fruity salsa was simply delicious, slightly acidy but so fresh and suited the dish just nicely and I also really liked the cilantro in it.

I think this is a great place. The food was pretty nice and very reasonable priced (3 tacos for 17$), they had good happy hour Corona buckets and the service was fast, on the spot and I found actually quite funny. Happy and content.

http://mexout.com/

Mexout – The Mex’perts
39 Pekin Street (Far East Square)
#01-01
Singapore 048769
Tel: +65 6536 9953

The Roo Burgers are in Town

imageI had read about ‘Intrepid’ on other blogs and friend’s facebook posts and since then couldn’t get those ‘Kangaroo Sliders‘ out of my head. So when my friend asked me what my plans for dinner were I made this a suggestion and so we went. We had a bit of a hard time finding the place as it didn’t have a big sign yet but when you find the Water Gate of Far East Square and look very closely it’s exactly next to it.

Naturally we started with the famous ‘Kangaroo Sliders‘ and they looked pretty darn good coming out of the kitchen. As kangaroo meat gets tough and dry very fast they broiled it to a medium rare. I usually prefer my burgers medium to medium well but the meat was of such good quality that medium rare was perfect and kept the patty moist and juicy. It was lean and had this distinct venison like flavor lifted up a level by the saltiness of the prosciutto that was “melted” on top. The bun was lovely fluffy and the host told us that they are making them from scratch freshly every day just for this dish as well as the crispy chips which maybe could have used a pinch more salt.

imageAs seconds I ordered the ‘Pork Sausage‘ which seemed to be some sort of special as it was off the usual menu. The “dog” came in a proper baguette bun, not that usual soft mushy stuff and the sausage had a great snappy casing, the meat was firm, well seasoned and tasted nice and porky. I found the sprinkled crackling on top was a great idea but maybe would have been even better if it was roasted instead of fried. The most delicate and special bits here though were the thinly sliced fennel slices that unfortunately were a bit overpowered by the sausage and the cubes of baked apple that had a fantastic sweet cinnamon flavor.

imageRecently we always seem to order beyond that hunger feeling and this time it was the ‘Crab Cakes‘. They were fully packed of sweet crab meat with a super crispy crust in which was a tad too much frying oil left. The cakes were accompanied by a salad of mixed leaves, tomato, creamy avocado as well as black and salty caviar that popped nicely in my mouth and tasted like little drops of sea.

I quite liked it here with the Aussi twist they took on the dishes and the very friendly and kind staff so I might be coming back to try their ‘Kangaroo Loin‘ and the brunch items. Thanks guys!

Intrepid Gastro Bar
40 Pekin Street
#01-01 Far East Square
Singapore 048770
Tel: +65 9068 8297