Archive

@Novena

New Vietnamese shop at United Square.

imageI had been here when they just opened shop and it all was still pretty basic and semi-finished but looked much better this time around, even though the stickiness of the tables seemed to have remained.

I already had one of their Vietnamese sandwiches before which was fairly tasty already so this time I wanted to try their ‘Bun‘ instead. I ordered the version with the spring rolls, drizzled some sauce from the condiment tray over and gave it all a good mix. Taste wise this was nothing that excited me too much, mainly because there were hardly any fresh herbs in it but I appreciated the freshness that comes with a cold dish and the different textures going on, created by the thinly cut vegetables, the crunchy roasted garlic and the crispy fried rolls. The latter had actually a very nice and thin skin which seems to be hard to find outside of Vietnam.

It’s a bit setup like a better hawker stall with food, that’s okay and more than reasonable priced. If I should come back here in the future though I most likely will stick to the sandwiches.

Banh Mi 888
101 Thomson Road
#B1-06 United Square Shopping Mall
Singapore 307591
Tel: +65 6354 3858

Freshness is around.

imageWe have a new sandwich/pasta shop at Velocity and as I went to to ‘Salad Stop!’ already twice this week I wanted to give this one a try.

It was their soft opening day or something and they ran out of most of their bread choices at the time I showed up for some late dinner but thankfully there was some good looking ciabatta left so I could still start assembling my cyo (create-your-own) sandwich. The toppings of my choosing were the pulled pork, julienne cucumber, coriander, thai basil and their cilantro loaded chimichurri sauce which they let me try first before settling for it. It was served stylishly simple in a brown paper bag on a wooden board, I picked it up and I instantly started munching on. The taste was actually great, all ingredients were fresh and delicious, from the tender pork fibres, over the crunchy finely chopped cucumbers to the kick ass chimichurri. If I had to change something about this sandwich the taste definitely wouldn’t be it. I would however suggest to be a bit more generous with the ingredients as there was a lot of bread which absorbed and therefore hid some of the great flavours what didn’t do the delicious ingredients the justice they deserved. Unleash the potential.

The place itself is more casual and simple set up in a modern way, the people behind the counter were super nice and helpful, that paired with some nice sandwiches is enough to bring me back here to try more and just make sure I’ll ask for some extra sauce.

Marco Marco
238 Thomson Road
#02-26/27 Velocity@Novena Square
Singapore 307683
Tel: +65 6358 4466
http://www.marcomarco.com.sg/

It’s been a very lao time.

imageIt felt like a hundred years that I had been to ‘Lao Beijing’ but tonight I wanted to refresh my memory big time and went berserk on their menu. I spotted ‘Xiao Long Bao‘ (小笼汤包) so it came naturally to start with those favourite little steamers. Not being the prettiest of its’ kind, they were quite nice, had thin skin and a generous slurp of soup in ’em but neither the meat nor the broth had a too distinguished flavour.

imageDumpling time wasn’t over just yet so we had a round of awesome ‘Pork & Cabbage Jiao Zi‘ (boiled). The cool thing here was the cabbage, not very common and tasted great together with the fine meat mass. Aside another regular on my orders, some crunchy and slightly spicy, delicious garlic cucumbers.

imageOver to the noodles some ‘Beijing Style Zhang Jian Mian‘ (老北京炸酱面) came our way. The noodles were soft and and thin and the whole thing tasted nice refreshing with all those chopped scallions but wasn’t really like a bean sauce but more like a lightish bolognese, nonetheless good.

imageAlso the ‘Dan Dan Mian‘ was more an interpretation of the bowl I like so much. Nearly a clear broth with some minced meat and chives taking a swim in it. No sesame, no peanuts, no gooey creaminess made this not really extra special but still tasty enough to give it a like.

Even though the food was not sweeping me off my feet, it was still tasteful and delicious maybe with a slight setback caused by their  modifications on my old time favourites. It’s quite a busy and bustling place at peak hours in a bit of a warmer setting than the usual dim sum restaurants and surely has some decent dishes to offer. I might come back to try their high tea buffet as even though I’m not a big fan of such, ‘Xiao Long Bao‘ free flow doesn’t sound too bad to me.

Lao Beijing 老北京食堂
238 Thomson Road
#02-11/12 Velocity@Novena Square
Singapore 307683
Tel: +65 6358 4466
http://www.laobeijing.com.sg/

Bari-Uma opened at United Square.

imageUnited Square had a new ramen shop in their basement – one of the ‘Bari-Uma’ branches – and my mate and I wanted to go check it out tonight.

I wasn’t up for the full on tonkotsu action so I ordered the lighter ‘Shoyu Ramen‘ which tasted nice enough but was nothing too exciting and unfortunately again not sufficiently salty. Will I ever have a desert in my mouth again? As ordinary as the broth was as extravagant were the condiments, the chashu/pork belly was flame grilled and had this awesome and unusual smokey flavour and they did a great job boiling up some perfect flavoured eggs as well. Unfortunately the noodles fell a bit short behind such standards and hardly made an impression on me but the deliciously different ‘Boiled Gyoza‘ were top and sure made up for it.

Trying new ramen I tend to set my expectations very high and even though ‘Bari-Uma’ didn’t quite make the bar it is still good having another reliable ramen source so close by and since I haven’t tried their signature ‘Tonkotsu Ramen‘ yet there’s still some things to discover here.

Ramen Bari-Uma ばり馬のらーめん
101 Thomson Road
#B1-08 United Square
Singapore 307591
Tel: +65 6354 3711
http://www.with-link.co.jp/eng/index.html

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/

My Kopitiam Attempt.

imageMy friend from Jakarta who stayed with me wanted to eat some porridge and I wasn’t feeling too well so we decided to go for something quick and dirty round the corner and ended up at one of my least favorite places, the Kopitiam in Velocity. At least it looked more appealing since they had renovated the whole food court last year.

Looking for something that would be soothing my stomach I spotted a promising ‘Chicken Noodle Soup‘ at the ‘Korean Cuisine’ stall. There was nothing really special about this but it fitted the purpose. The soup was close to tasteless but therefore the natural flavors of the ingredients came out. There was a generous portion of rightly cooked rice noodles, leaves of cabbage, quite nice meat of chicken breast and a very funny squarish shaped hard poached egg. These were all very basic flavors without too much spices being used but it gave me back some of the power that I needed.

I’m not a big fan of Kopitiam and probably never will be but this was quite okay and I might return for a light and cheap after-workout-meal sometime.

Korean Cuisine
#03-47/56 Kopitiam
Velocity @Novena Square
238 Thomson Road
Singapore 307683

Mr. Wee is back!

imageIt’s been now a couple of weeks since my beloved ‘Wee Nam Kee’ has moved from the recently torn down Novena Ville down to United Square about a kilometer south. I had a good workout today and needed some proper protein and carbs to fill up so I headed into exact this direction.

Obviously I ordered their ‘Chicken Rice‘ from roasted chicken and simply replaced the oily yet delicious signature rice with the steamed version not to chuck all my morning efforts out the window. First up came their chicken soup which had a strong taste and was a great kick start that made me even hungrier. When the main arrived the meat was super tender and juicy and as so unusual for chicken breast actually tasted like chicken. Delicious. The kicker of this was the chopped coriander on top and the wonderful chicken stock underneath which was even richer in taste and had a light soy touch so that I munched up all the cucumber slices that soaked in it. For my rice I used a lot of their signature chili and grated ginger which made it all a flavor party and with every spoon I played around and changed the ratio of the ingredients.

I still love this place, familiar faces, great down to earth food and even that it lost a bit of it’s coffee shop charm, the longneck bottles of beer and the outdoor seating, it still managed to retain some of the old atmosphere and definitely it’s popularity. This is one of my favorites and not only because I can walk here. I have been here a million times before and there’s a high chance I’ll be back already next week.

Wee Nam Kee Hainanese Chicken Rice Restaurant 威难记鸡饭
101 Thomson Road
#01-08 United Square
Singapore 307591
Tel: +65 6255 6396
http://www.wnk.com.sg/