Yaya 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
Tel: +65 6221 3323
Another 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.
12 Gopeng Street
#01-82/83 Icon Village
Tel: +65 6225 2340
It 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
Tel: +65 6636 4183
More of that Caribbean feeling.
I 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.
As 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.
2 Jiak Chuan Road
Tel: +65 6223 3130
Last call Boston.
I 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.
Before 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
Tel: +65 6221 3323
Meat me up, Scotty!
A friend organized a get together at ‘Market Grill’ on Telok Ayer tonight and as I had heard a lot about this place I was a bit excited to finally try it out.
I had done my research and since pretty much all mains cost about the same here (S$40-50) my mind was set on ‘Boston Lobster‘. When the waiter was taking our order though almost everyone ordered a burger of some sort, so all over sudden I felt more like beef and spontaneously changed my order to the ‘Bavette‘. This turned out not being a bad choice at all as it was grilled-medium rare on spot, with a nice char that gave it an even more rustic texture and flavor. The juices stayed inside the meat, where they belong and together with the heavy glazed onions and the quite sharpish pepper sauce this became a fantastic combination of flavors that did almost let me forget their over-average pricing.
‘Market Grill’ is a nice bistro style restaurant, similar to ‘L’Entrecote‘, with great food and overly kind waiters that patiently helped me re-arrange the table-chair-ratio for about three times. Despite the slightly high price tag it’s a very popular and busy place, so if you are a bigger group it would be a good idea to come by early as they don’t take reservations and the space for groups bigger than four is very limited. Anyhow, I will return here soon to finally get my hands on that delicious looking lobster. Can’t wait.
The Market Grill
208 Teok Ayer Street
Tel: +65 6221 3323
Mexanese or Japexican?
I 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.
100 Tras Street
#01-06 100AM Shopping Mall
Tel: +65 6543 6860
Totally worth the smelly clothes.
It was meat o’clock and so we headed for Tanjong Pagar, ‘Korean BBQ‘ heaven. We ordered the ‘Beef Set‘ at ‘Manbok Galbi’ which was massive and for only S$85 more than reasonable. All the cuts were tasty but my favourite by far was the wine marinated short rib which had the richest flavours of all. The sirloin was a bit streaky and chunky tonight but the rest of the meats were lean and tender. I also liked their free flow appetisers especially the strong fermented tasting kimchi and the onion salad. As always we added the ‘Kimchi-Jeon‘ (pancake) to our order which tasted pretty good but could’ve done well with some more actual kimchi. It looked quite pale too and I wished it to be more crispy and less oily as well.
The service was rather unemotional except that one waiter so kindly showed me how to properly lettuce wrap my meat (thanks for touching my food dude) but just at the very end also the boss couldn’t resist anymore and gave us a smile on the way. This was great, I’ll come back.
Korean BBQ Restaurant Manbok Galbi
63 Tanjong Pagar Road
Tel: +65 6221 9942
Restaurant Week 2013: Buyan буян
The second reservation during Restaurant Week was at Buyan, the Russian place up at Duxton Hill.
The set menu started up with the ‘Borscht‘ which was great, the root taste wasn’t too strong or sour and it was loaded with brisket beef fibre. It was my first time to try this and I actually really really liked it. Because we don’t come here very often we added another two à la carte starters for sharing. First the ‘Khachapuri‘ that I found out about on another blog recently and which was my favourite dish of the evening, thin and seemingly light dough with amazing salty cheesiness inside. I could’ve eaten that for the rest of the evening, no problem.
Second add on were the ‘Pelmeni‘, smallish cooked Russian dumplings, that even though filled with a close to hardish meat mince, tasted great and the chilled sour cream and the beetroot dipping sauce made for some awesome condiments. Perfect skin too. For main I chose the ‘Lamb Shashlyk‘ which was a bit of a let down. The meat was quite tough and far too well done and the barley, onions and peppers were oily and soft.
Thankfully they ended the set dinner greatly with their ‘Blinis‘ which reminded me strongly of an old fashioned apple strudel which, because of the paper thin crepes came across a tad lighter, with lovely baked apple and cinnamon flavours. Nice finish.
I’ll never get this iPads for menus thing as I usually prefer not to touch surfaces which others visibly handled with their butter fingers before but I generally liked the place. All food except the disappointing main was great but for just S$30++ for a three course dinner (excluding our extra starters) I don’t want to complain too much as this was anyway a great deal. Nice dark wood interior and great service on top might bring me back here for more cheese cake.
9/10 Duxton Hill
Tel: +65 6223 7008
Restaurant Week 2013: Hashi 箸
Restaurant 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.
The 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
Tel: +65 6327 8414
Vietnamese, my new after workout food.
One branch of my yoga studio is directly next to this shop in Tanjong Pagar so it was just a matter of time until I would come by here for some after workout pho.
I ordered their ‘Summer Fresh Rolls‘ as starters that were probably not super authentic but exactly how I like them, fully packed with greens, fresh herbs, prawn and instead of the so often weirdly grey pork they used chilled chicken breast. Light and fresh. My main was set on ‘Pho Bo‘ with sliced beef which turned out to be quite tasty. The beef was lean and beefy, the noodles were ok and the broth had a decent flavour even that it wasn’t that strong. They provided some greens, sprouts and chilli to add to the soup but I just always miss the tables full of greens that I only found in Vietnam so far.
All in all not bad and I am glad to have such a dinner option so close after a tough yoga class that I surely will “stop” by again some time soon.
21 Tanjong Pagar Road
Tel: +65 6221 4001
, @Tanjong Pagar
, Guo Tie
, Jiao Zi
, Xiao Long Bao
, Zha Jiang Mian
Hey Dude, where’s my Dumpling Nazi?
I read and heard so much about ‘Jing Hua’ a.k.a. ‘The Dumpling Nazi’ and so a friend and I paid the place with the apparently so grumpy guy a visit. To my surprise the shop seemed to be freshly renovated and really didn’t have anything from an old traditional eating house anymore. My biggest disappointment though was the missing impolite uncle scolding us or something, which I was so looking forward to.
The disappointment continued with the food. I’m a huge fool for ‘Xiao Long Bao‘ (小笼汤包) but I simply couldn’t eat those, thick doughy skin with overly greasy and lardy soup inside. We actually left most of it back in the basket and rather ate the crispy ‘Guo Tie‘ (锅贴) and boiled ‘Jiao Zi‘ (饺子) which were actually quite tasty, pimped with a generous portion of scallions.
We knew we over-ordered heavily but since it was something unusual we also got what they called ‘Chinese Pizza‘ (三鲜盒子), which was pretty much a crispy curry puff-like pastry filled with your usual dumpling mix – pork meat and scallions. This tasted quite great and was really something else.
My favourite however was the ‘Zha Jiang Mian’ (ひき肉みそのせ麺 ) which besides the fact that it could’ve used another scoop of the thick soy bean sauce came pretty close to awesome. Meaty, sweetish, great textures and brilliant unusually thick noodles, that even that I was already stuffed, I wished my bowl would’ve been was bigger.
If it wasn’t for the noodles, I wouldn’t bother coming back here to this formerly traditional place that obviously got transformed into a faceless eatery with oversized pictures of their signature dishes hanging on the walls like otherwise only a big fast food franchise would put up. But I’m hooked now and just have to learn how to ignore that people here are so polite.
Jing Hua Restaurant at Qun Zhong Eating House 京华小吃
21 Neil Road
Tel: +65 6221 3060
A proper ending to a Mexican day.
Telling good friends about my Mexican lunch planted the idea of tacos into their brains that they had to have ’em before leaving for their U.S. trip in the morning. As my earlier experience was nothing I necessarily wished to repeat we played it safe and went to my all time favorite.
My lunch had been late and I wasn’t too hungry so I took the chance to try some of the small new dishes they had introduced. Starting with the ‘Tostaditas de Cangrejo‘ which were truly amazing. Big piles of sweet crab meat in a light creamy dressing. The avocado came hardly through but the chili splinters hit in nicely. Cold and spicy, a great dish.
I wasn’t actually planning on having tacos again but then they had a new special one on the menu that changed my mind. The ‘Taco de Callo de Hacha‘ had some nicely pan charred fresh scallops with a great texture, pickled onions and grilled corn which gave it all an oddly interesting and crunchy texture. Nicely done guys, nicely done.
Lucha Loco – Mexican Taqueria Y Garden Bar
15 Duxton Hill
Tel: +65 6226 3938
Taco Mania at Duxton!
Today my colleagues decided to go down to ‘Lucha Loco’, one of the few proper Mexican restaurants in Singapore, for some afterwork drinks and dinner. Unfortunately we didn’t have a booking on a very busy Friday which delayed our order by approximately one hour ish.
My first taco was my all time favorite the ‘Taco de Carnitas‘. The thick slice of pork belly is simmered nicely until juicy and tender and – I know I say that very often but – melted away in my mouth. To the soft pork they added crunchy ‘Jicama‘ or Mexican Turnip which added not only a different texture but also freshness to it. All this was finished with a drizzle of spicy cilantro mayonnaise and fresh lime juice. Delicious and still number one.
My second choice fell on one of their monthly specials, the ‘Baja Fish Taco‘. The fish was red snapper, fried in a thin but super crispy beer batter and still lovely moist on the inside. The salsa was mixed together of hot chilis, fresh mint and ripe and nicely sweet mango and worked just great with the fish.
I then finished my three course taco sample menu with their ‘Taco de Chorizo Con Res‘. This one had a chunky mix of chorizo sausage and slow braised beef that tasted amazing and was heated up by some chopped red onions and a pretty fiery sauce.
Finishing all these plus some sides I obviously wasn’t hungry anymore. Regardless I ordered the ‘Elotes‘, a Mexican style grilled corn cob which I always wanted to try. This was super good and filling too. It seemed that after grilling they dipped it into some spicy melted cheese and if this wasn’t enough, rolled the sticky cob in cotija cheese after. Goodness and so much better and spicier than I thought.
I find the concept of this place simply brilliant; due to the busy bar area you get much more buzz than in your usual restaurant which makes it perfect to start a night our or to end a long week at work. The drinks are different, tasty and actually quite strong and the food on the menu is no other than delicious. It’s not the cheapest of places but well worth it I suppose. Great stuff.
Lucha Loco – Mexican Taqueria Y Garden Bar
15 Duxton Hill
The La-Mian-Quest continues!
After not making it down to ‘Silk Road’ at the Amara Hotel during my friend’s visit I needed to come here and try their ‘Dan Dan Mian‘ myself. A workmate joined me so we could order a little bit more dishes to taste.
As it was the focus of my mission today I started up with the ‘Sichuan Dan Dan Mian‘ which oddly arrived in a flat pasta dish but nevertheless looked very promising. There was heapz of minced pork sprinkled all over and the gravy looked thick and dark red. Taste wise I must say it was all in all good but not too special, slightly spicy and with sesame of course. The noodles tough were too soft for me and I reckon not the home made kind which became more certain as other noodles on the menu were particularly declared as “handmade”.
Aside we ordered the ‘Cucumber in Garlic Sauce‘ which I loved. The portion was huge and the cucumbers were the tasty small kind with a lovely crunch to them. All that covered in a nice garlicy chili sauce that was refreshing in between all the warm and meaty dishes. We also ordered the ‘Minced Meat Dumplings‘ and also the spicy version. Both tasted okay but I preferred the normal ones as the Sichuan version wasn’t spicy at all and a bit coldish.
At last we had their special ‘Shenyang Snowflake Dumplings‘ that were eight tasty meat and chive dumplings united through a thin layer of crispy dough similar to a very flat pancake. Even that the taste wasn’t really knocking me off my feet, eating dumplings like that was something new that I haven’t seen before, which I appreciated.
The food here was good but since recently I have been to places like ‘Si Chuan‘ which offer really yummy ‘Dan Dan Mian’ and I wasn’t a too big fan of the atmosphere here I might return to the Amara rather to check out one of the many other restaurants here.
Silk Road Restaurant 165 Tanjong Pagar Road Level 2 Amara Singapore Singapore 088539
Good Star K!
It was my highschool friend’s last night in Singapore and originally we planned to go to another dan dan mian place in Tanjong Pagar but on the way there we spontaneously opted for ‘Korean BBQ‘ at ‘Super Star K’ instead. I had never been here before but it looked cozy from the outside and was packed with guests which always is a rather good sign. We ordered the ‘King Sized Beef Ribs‘, the ‘Seasoned Beef Ribs‘, the ‘Pork Belly BBQ‘ and my beloved ‘Kimchi Pancake‘.
The ribs and especially the marinated ones had a strong beefy taste to them which you don’t get from the leaner cuts. They were a bit chunky at parts but there were plenty of buttery pieces that were pretty yummy. I was a bit concerned about the pork belly as it was cut into thicker slices like they do at ‘Red Pig‘ but at ‘Super Star’ the outcome was mouth watering. Most of the fatty stripes melted on the coals and the ones that were left melted in my mouth, it tasted great and just how I like my pork belly.
I also was a fan of the ‘Kimchi Pancake‘. It had many onions in there but also big leaves of kimchied cabbage which gave the pancake it’s spicy signature kick. On the menu it said that from the third refill of side dishes on they do charge you for it but we didn’t even get that far to proof it.
I overall liked the place for the ambience and the food but will still continue searching for a barbie to match my Seoul experience. Til then this goes into the “Been There, Done That” box for the optional return visit.
Super Star K Korean BBQ Restaurant 75 Tanjong Pagar Road Singapore 088496
Long Live The King!
Oh yes, it was that time again to meet my ramen buddy together with two visiting friends, this time at Keisuke Tonkotsu King at the Orchid Hotel in Tanjong Pagar. We rocked up around 8:30 p.m. and where super positively surprised that within ten minutes we already made our way inside.
While waiting I filled in the form for my usual ‘Black Spicy Tonkotsu King‘ which arrived just one minute after sitting down. The broth was thick and had a strong porky taste to it which was boosted by the black pepper garlic and chicken oil. It was mildly spicy so the taste wasn’t covered up but for me it could have been a notch sharper. Did I already mention the egg? It was outstanding. I did let mine sit in the broth for a bit so it warmed up slightly from the outside and when biting into it I reached the cold but perfectly waxy yolk which together with the broth tasted amazing. I never thought I could say something like that about an egg. Coming to the Chashu now which they cut in big thin slices and artfully marinate in red wine. I wished I had a leaner piece but the meaty bits were juicy and tender and just did fit to this bowl naturally. Last but not least the centerpiece of a noodle soup – the noodles. I ordered them ‘hard’ and for many people those might be slightly too al dente but as you often get rather squashy noodles i really liked their bite and texture a lot.
I don’t come here very often because the long wait one has to bear so I always think I might idealize this place too much but every time they delivery the same high level of quality in their food and not once I had overcooked noodles, a hard boiled egg or chewy chashu. Keisuke, still my king of ramen shops in Singapore. ‘Kaedama please’.
Keisuke Tonkotsu King 1 Tras Street #01-19 Orchid Hotel Singapore 078867
A New Ramen In The Neighborhood!
Today my ramen buddy and I went to checkout another new place that opened up in Singapore last year, Menya Sanji in Tanjong Pagar. When I’m in this area I’m always tempted to queue up at Keisuke for their delicious Black Oil Tonkotsu Ramen but today our mission was venturing for new tastes.
My friend had their signature “Sanji Ramen” and naturally I went for the spicy version (pic). Both have the same pork base but mine had chili oil added to it. They also have a pork-chicken and even a pork-fish based ramen which I found a bit odd when screening the menu. The regular bowl was a bit blend and milky in taste so I was happy that my spicy ramen had a dram more depth and kick to it. The noodles were nice and chewy that next time I have to ask them if they make it themselves. We also ordered some extra eggs that were slightly overcooked and chashu which I would have wished to be leaner.
Menya Sanji didn’t make it in my top 3 ramen places in Singapore but offers a solid bowl of Japanese goodness and the super friendly service and the substantial shorter wait compared to Keisuke around the corner will make some people jump the queue.
#01-14 Orchid Hotel 1 Tras Link 078867 Singapore