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Little breakfast find in Causeway Bay.

imageArrived in Hong Kong, we stayed with our friend who just had moved to Causeway Bay. The first morning wasn’t our designated dim sum day so I looked around the internet for a coffee place close by. I found a joint called ’18 Grams’ that turned out to be just a two minute walk away, a small pretty coffee shop that at most maybe holds 15 people including the outside tables.

I had the ‘Ham & Cheese‘ which was right what I needed for a very hungry morning, great toasted and crunchy poppy seed bread with a salty mix of the lean smoked ham and wonderfully gooey cheese. They also had my favourite ‘Iced Drip Coffee‘ which they funnily served in a champagne flute and a mega refreshing ‘White Peach Soda’.

I’d come back here again anytime to try the other delicious looking breakfast items or to have one of those fancy looking coffees again. Nice one.

18 Grams
Unit C, G/F 15 Cannon Street
Causeway Bay
Hong Kong
Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China
Tel: +852 2893 8988
http://www.18grams.com/

Restaurant Week 2013: Buyan буян

imageThe 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.

imageSecond 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.

imageThankfully 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.

Buyan буян
9/10 Duxton Hill
Singapore 089593
Tel: +65 6223 7008
http://buyan.sg/

Finally a decent Reuben!

imageI had seen a bunch of pictures of sandwiches from this place from many fellow bloggers that I couldn’t get it out of my head, especially since their subs use coleslaw or sauerkraut on them. I somewhat expected a modern sort of deli but this was a rather plain subway style kind of joint, where I had to order at the counter and my name got called up once my sandwich was ready.

I wasn’t that hungry but just to be on the safe side I ordered the large version of the ‘Corned Beef on Rye with Swiss Cheese, Sauerkraut and Russian Dressing‘ or as I would have called it the ‘Reuben‘. Large here meant nothing else than an extra slap of corned beef (could’ve been much bigger for my liking) which was wonderful juicy but a bit streaky at parts. Sauerkraut must be my favorite sandwich topping in the world and also on this one here it just gave the perfect sour note to the saltiness of the beef and the cheese, everything was tucked in nicely. All that was balanced out by the creamy fruitiness coming from the Russian dressing but best of all was that the bread was awesome too, all buttered up and toasted right, just nice. Mainly because of its’ light color I had my doubts that it was actually rye bread, but then again I’m not a baker whatsoever. I also did get a fat slice of pickle with my sandwich but made a personal note to anyway order some extra ones next time as one simply just wasn’t enough.

I’d love this place to be closer to my work or home but for me to make my way out to MBS regularly just for a sub in such a simply setup place they better up the ante on the meat and sauerkraut. Still, it was pretty good.

Sweet Spot Deli
Bay Level, #01-30 The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands
10 Bayfront Avenue
Singapore 018956
Tel: +65 6688 8584

Closeness ≠ Goodness

imageWhere to go when you don’t have much time? Close! That’s right, and that’s exactly what friend’s and I thought yesterday and made our way to ‘Pigsfly Kitchen & Bar’ at Goldhill Plaza.

Not really feeling like anything else I ordered ‘The Pervert‘ from the ‘Burger Office’, pretty much their bacon cheese burger. I didn’t hold my hopes up too high as I had their burgers before and wasn’t too impressed. I asked for a spicy sauce when ordering but this request got lost somewhere in the process which wasn’t too bad as the standard bbq sauce is quite tasty and sweet. The toppings in general were okay, the veggies were fresh with a bite, the extra grilled onions were nicely soft and the bacon had a good salty taste but definitely could’ve been way crispier. The bun was soft and too sweet but the biggest letdown really was the beef patty. Even though much firmer than the last time, it actually was pretty lame, under seasoned and tasted like nothing much. The peppered fries were alright but nothing to rave about either.

It seemed to have become quite a popular place in the meantime but if I should come back here then only for the Thai stall which has some pretty tasty dishes to offer. Sorry ‘Burger Office’ just not my thing.

http://www.pigsflykitchenbar.com/

Pigsfly Kitchen & Bar (Burger Office)
1 Goldhill Plaza
#01-05
Singapore 308899
Tel: +65 6352 7484

Porky Pork with Porkish Pork

imageAfter a nice sunny day at the beach we were craving some juicy burgers from and made a little detour ‘De Burg’ in Bukit Merah before heading home. Business was already going well which pushed the waiting time up to thirty minutes but being in Asia for some time now I don’t really mind waiting if it’s for some great grub.

I ordered the ‘Singhjector‘ which was next in line of my to try burgers even that it was quite difficult for me not to have their fantastic ‘Choco Lamb‘ burger again. The ‘Singhjector‘ truly was pork galore with a super juicy and well seasoned pork patty, some wonderful crispy and salty Canadian bacon and Iberico chorizo which I couldn’t really work out from all the other ingredients. The smoky cheese and the sweet bbq sauce gave it all a nice finish and the only thing I missed was maybe a little bit of lettuce. At the same time my friend had ordered a ‘Pork Knuckle‘ from neighboring ‘Stew Küche‘ – from which I took some crackling and slipped it into my burger. The birth of the ‘Singhjector – Heart Attack Edition‘.

If you like pork, this is your burger; juicy, salty goodness with great quality ingredients. It didn’t really need any modifications but when I saw my three pork ingredients burger next to the pork knuckle it just came naturally. Thanks again for keeping up a constant high level of quality burgers. Still the best on the island I reckon.

De Burg Food and Drink Private Limited
119 Bukit Merah Lane
#01-40
Singapore 151119

Back to My Taco Roots

imageI was at ‘Brickhouse’ for the first time a few years back and this is where I had my first proper corn tortilla taco. As always when coming to Hong Kong my schedule – my food schedule in particular – was packed full so I requested for a second dinner here a few hours after the ‘Double Happiness Cafe‘ and  when it became more likely to get a seat.

After starting up with some of their delicious ‘Diablas‘ (vodka, rasberry and jalapeno) I ordered a slap of three ‘Tacos‘ – beef, fish and pork. Startup was the ‘Ribeye Taco‘. They obviously make the corn tortillas themselves as they first had a more rustic look than their assembly line manufactured cousins and were also much thicker. Latter made them also slightly dry and starchy but I didn’t mind due to the fact how much effort they had put into making them. This one was layered with a couple of thin slices of lean steak and gratinated with some sharp tasting cheese, simply sprinkled with some cilantro and a dash of lemon. Not bad at all but quite cheesy. The fish was a bit dry which was partially resolved by the avocado, the chipotle like sauce and the coleslaw but I couldn’t help but remembering this one to have tasted better at my last visit. Lastly I attended to the ‘Pork Taco‘ with it’s nicely moist slow cooked meat and which used the same sauce and avocado topping as the fishy version. Great taste still.

I still love this place for it’s great food, the amazing drink(s) and the bustling atmosphere so that we were lucky to get a table even at 11:00 p.m. at night. Maybe next time I’ll try to queue up with the crowd upon opening and finally get to taste some other dishes like the ‘Do-It-Yourself Bone Marrow Tacos‘ that unfortunately weren’t available til late. Muchas Gracias.

Brickhouse
G/F, 20A D’Aguilar Street (via Bricklane)
Central
Hong Kong
Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China
http://www.brickhouse.com.hk/

Tuscany Fantastico in Bianco et Nero

imageA colleague friend came into town on a transit to the Philippines and so we rallied the troops and all went together to ‘Pietrasanta’ in one of the black & white houses down at Portsdown Road. We were warmly welcomed by the friendly staff and the manager and seated on a big table inside.

As my main I chose the fish special ‘Grilled Sole‘ which I saw floating by to another table earlier. The fish was huge and looked super tasty with it’s nice chars from the grill. Following the managers recommendation I drizzled some of their fancy olive oil on top and together with the lemon and the pepper it tasted absolutely great. The kicker on this was that after it came from the grill they put the sole on a wooden board coming from an olive tree so when turning the fish over, the second half offered a completely new flavor, smokey and with an oaky taste to it. Very happy that I sighted this.

imageBefore this lovely fish we shared a variation of antipasti like the ‘Scamorza con Prosciutto‘. The cheese was lovely smokey and melted but still firm and wrapped in a salty cover of crispy pan fried parma ham.

imageWe couldn’t get enough of the ‘Tagliere Di Salumi e Formaggi‘ which was a cold cut platter of delicious parma ham, juicy and light mortadella, two types of salty and nutty salami and a centerpiece of parmesan that tasted lovely milky.

imageAnother starter we ordered was the ‘Acciughe Fresche Fritte‘ which were freshly imported anchovies fried in a light batter. Other than usual the tiny fishes were properly cleaned and only fried for a very short time so they were still moist and tasted like eating them in Italy.

imageLast but not least we had the famous ‘Burrata‘ a huge deformed mozzarella cheese ball filled with a mixture of the same as well as heavy cream. I loved the outer shell of this as it had a weird yet nice texture and tasted like strong milky white blob. The others preferred the inner core which I found too creamy to eat too much of it. The burrata was accompanied by an extra plate of juicy tomatos, arugula and parma ham which in combination with the nice olive oil made this a brilliant appetizer.

imageDuring the entire dinner we were exceptionally well taken care of by our head waiter and all the other staff and after we had finished everything we received a digestive including a freeflow of freshly baked biscotti and chocolate covered roasted almonds.

I had been here before but didn’t remember it being this nice. The food was fantastic and proper down to earth home cooked Tuscan cuisine and the service was memorable friendly and attentive. A great piece of Italy in traditional Singaporean heritage.

http://www.ristorante-pietrasanta.com/

Ristorante Pietrasanta Pte. Ltd.
5B Portsdown Road
#01-03
Singapore 139311
Tel: +65 6479 9521