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Tandoori-ing it.

imageWe didn’t really know what to do for lunch and so when passing by the newly opened Zaffron Kitchen at Westgate we thought let’s just give it a try.

Yet another shop where you have to order your food via iPads which is still pretty alien to me, especially at places where you partially eat with your hands. I still managed to place our order only using my pinkie and soon after the first plates were coming in. The start made the Fish Tikka, which to my surprise was made of thick and juicy salmon chunks. It tasted great, less flaky than usual but also richer because of the fattier fish. I thought this was a brilliant twist to an old favorite.

imageWe also ordered the Tandoori Malay Chicken Tikka, which was marinated in yogurt and coriander. The coriander didn’t come across very strong but it was still a darn tasty piece of chicken, rustic charred and tender.

imageLast but not least was a first timer for me, some Tandoori Gobi. The cauliflower was super nice, slightly spicy with a bite and together with the fresh and crunchy onions and some drizzled lemon juice a great change up to the meaty dishes.

I undoubtedly enjoyed this place a lot, so much actually that I got on my colleagues nerves, raving about it all day long. It’s setup like a modern gastro bar with simple and elegant interior in a bright and light room. Food was great too, meat, vegetables and bread, everything on spot and service was kind and fast. You’ll see me back here again soon.

Zaffron Kitchen
3 Gateway Drive
#01-13 Westgate
Singapore 608532
Tel: +65 6465 9880
http://www.zaffronkitchen.com/

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More of that Caribbean feeling.

imageI 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.

imageAs 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.

Lime House
2 Jiak Chuan Road
Singapore 089260
Tel: +65 6223 3130
http://www.limehouse.asia/

Subway Tacos.

imageIt was getting pretty late for lunch and I needed a good idea for something somewhere around the Orchard area that would appear satisfying enough. I remembered a colleague telling me that he often gets the ‘Burritos‘ at ‘Baja Fresh’ and since they also have tacos I started my Saturday activities by heading their way.

I instantly was a bit skeptical because of the ‘Subway‘ look-alike setup of the shop but now that I had already come all the way out here in the burning sun I thought “what the heck” and ordered three different flavors, ‘Grilled Mahi Mahi‘, ‘Char Siew‘ (Pork) and ‘Chicken‘. I received a complimentary portion of nacho chips and while they were preparing my food I made my way for the condiments taking samples from the different salsas and loading up on chopped cilantro. Only a few minutes later I had all my tacos sitting in front of me. Because I love fish tacos I started with the mahi-mahi which sadly didn’t taste nice at all. It was unpleasantly fishy which overpowered all other flavors. The chicken tasted like nothing really but at least the pork taco gave me some sort of satisfaction. The meat had been slow cooked tenderly and was pretty juicy so that this was the only one I actually had to use the second tortilla – that came with all tacos – to avoid it all ripping apart. This one was really good even though the tortillas were generally too dry and starchy which I counter fought by adding heaps of the ‘Baja Salsa‘ that had a mild heat and a char tang of grilled peppers.

Well, unfortunately this was rather disappointing and as ‘Lucha Loco‘ as well as ‘MexOut‘ have some tastier tacos to offer and one of them even cheaper, ‘Baja Fresh’ probably won’t see me again too fast.

Baja Fresh
9 Bras Basah Road
#01-03 Rendezvous Gallery
Singapore 189559
Tel: +65 8157 4136
http://www.bajafresh.com/singapore/

Getting my textures on!

imageI finally managed to catch up with some lovely friends, including my very reliable Nippon food consultant, at Cuppage Plaza  over some quite interesting dishes. We met at ‘Kaiho’s’ a mid sized sushi bar on the third floor and to my surprise ended up having a multi course omakase set. The dinner kicked off with some starters like ‘Edamame‘, funny looking ‘Fish Crackers‘ and a delicious somehow cured ‘Cuttlefish‘. I was really skeptical as all these dried squid things are totally not mine but this was amazing, not too fishy with a soft elastic consistency. Best thing was the roe mayonnaise to dip it in.

imageNext was a fat slice of ‘Otoro‘ (fatty tuna belly). The rose meat melted between the otherwise rather hard and extremely chunky white bits which were really difficult to chew down all followed by an equally weird undefinable piece of chunky fat underneath. Taste wise good but texture, oh my.

imageThis was followed by a nice selection of small dishes like fried fish cubes, a selection of good quality sushi and sashimi, sweet crab legs, maguro soup (tuna), a wonderfully surprising ‘Agedashi Eal‘ and some sweet and creamy ‘Uni Handrolls‘ (sea urchin).

imageMy favorite dish of the night was a lightly seared ‘Beef Sushi‘. It had such a strong beefy flavor and even though cut fairly thick didn’t require any chewing at all. No teeth needed. Simply amazing.

imageAfter the official menu had finished we kept on ordering sushi variations and ended it all with above ‘Sardine Sushi‘ which was expectedly fishy but in a great way with something that seemed like a fermented bean and sambal paste on top that spiced it up properly.

For dessert we had a juicy yet a bit watery ‘Momo‘ (Japanese peach) and a brilliant ‘Wasabi Ice Cream’. To my delight the sharp wasabi taste and the light sweetness worked very well together but the awesome thing about this really was that with every spoon the heat grew on me so much that at the end I had to hang my tongue out of my mouth to give it some fresh air.

‘Kaiho Sushi’ is a nice little new place for my list and has a lot to offer. Maybe just the price and the variety of challenging textures here will make me choose places like ‘Nagomi‘ over this for my next omakase run.

http://bernardtang.com/

Kaiho Sushi
5 Koek Road
#03-01/02 Cuppage Plaza
Singapore 228796
Tel: +65 6738 1315

Octopus and Taco Thieves

imageAfter a while I finally came back to ‘Lucha Loco‘ for a friend’s farewell party. For starters I had the ‘Ceviche de Camarones y Pulpo‘ a fantastic refreshing dish full of fresh and sweet prawns and octopus. The texture of the octopus was amazing and just on the spot, firm without being chewy and the lightly sour taste of the lime juice together with the cilantro and herbs made this simply delicious. My favorite non-taco dish here. 

imageFor my taco selection this time I went for one of their specials, the ‘Taco de Barbacoa‘ with lovely tenderly braised lamb meat that was juice and strong in taste. A great taco but I would have wished for some more mint in the salsa as it nearly disappeared between all the the other flavors.

imageBy default I had the delicious ‘Taco de Carnitas‘ but this time I also ordered the ‘Taco de Pescado‘ which I didn’t have for a long time. It usually is a little bigger than in the picture but my colleague stole a piece from this nicely grilled snapper before I could stop her. The smaller size didn’t change anything, it still tasted great. The fish was moist and slightly charred on the outside and the combination of the freshness from the salsa and the spiciness from the chipotle made this work perfectly.

Another dinner much and well spend with great food, strong drinks and an outstanding friendly service. Still my kind of place, thanks a lot.

http://www.luchaloco.com/

Lucha Loco – Mexican Taqueria Y Garden Bar          
15 Duxton Hill                  
Singapore 089598                  
Tel: +65 6226 3938

New Mexican Shop at Boat Quay

imageI went to Circular Road for lunch to meet two of my friends and to check out a new Mexican restaurant – ‘El Rocho’s’ – which just opened here not long time ago.

First up was the ‘Beef Taco‘ that looked promising when it arrived. Unfortunately the beef chunks were chewy and stringy and reminded me of a cheese steak sandwich from one of the big sandwich chains.

imageThe second round I ordered the ‘Chorizo Taco‘ which besides the sausage used the same ingredients as the beefy version – cilantro, chimichurri mayo, lime and veggies but tasted much better. I liked the freshness of the herbs and the seasoning and saltiness of the chorizo. This one worked for me and was much more satisfying.

imageUnfortunately the ‘Fish Ceviche‘ we ordered for sharing was also rather a disappointment.The portion was big and the taste wasn’t bad really. I also liked the crispy corn and crunchy jicama sticks (mexican turnip) in it but the dressing was quite viscous and the fish cut in way too big pieces for my liking.

The place is actually quite nicely located around the Boat Quay area and I guess also convenient for the banker’s lunch break and afterwork, the staff was very friendly too but unfortunately the food just didn’t cut it for me this time. They sell ‘Pacifico Cerveza‘ though and some menu items like ‘Ox Tongue Tacos‘ sound pretty interesting so I might come to back some time to check those out.

El Rocho’s
36 Circular Road
Singapore 049392
Tel: +65 6438 7879

My Sushi Wonderland

imageThrough unforeseen coincidence my friend, who I just had visited in Hong Kong, came into town for a few days meeting. He stayed the Friday so I took him out to my newly discovered favorite sushi restaurant, ‘Fukuichi’.

Since I just been here a few weeks back we ordered some new things that I hadn’t tried the first time around. First up was the ‘Sake Sashimi‘ (salmon) which was lovely fresh and fatty, I just didn’t fancy the silver piece of skin on the top too much.

imageI was glad to hear they had the ‘Kanpachi Sushi‘ (greater amberjack) this time that was lovely soft and just a little oily on the dark red bits and because my buddy likes ‘Tamago Sushi‘ (sweet omelette) so much we also ordered one set of those. It was only lightly sweet which I appreciated, fluffy and nicely presented.

imageI’m not sure why we didn’t order ‘Uni Sushi‘ (sea urchin) the last time but this was simply fantastic. Even that I always have issues which too unique textures, this tasted so fresh and sweet and creamy that I hardly took notice of the consistency which actually wasn’t too bad anyway.

imageLike the last time we had the ‘Toro Aburi Sushi‘ (charred tuna belly) which again was very nice but to see what it would taste like in it’s original state we ordered the raw version as well. And oh my goodness this melted the exact same way in my mouth just colder and fresher than the charred version. Absolutely amazing.

imageAnother newbie for me here was the ‘Hotate Sushi‘ (scallop). Raw scallop was something I sadly avoided for a very long time which I only regretted when I forced myself trying it at ‘Nagomi‘ for the first time. The flesh had a very delicate texture, soft and light and tasted like pure freshness without any fishy aftertaste.

imageA new cooked dish we had was the ‘Grilled Beef with Miso Paste‘. The waiter unfortunately couldn’t tell me what type of meat it was but only that it was a sirloin cut. It was incredibly soft which I found slightly weird because of my distinct dislike of tenderized meat – I doubt this one was though – but it tasted great and dipping it into the miso paste gave it a lovely aroma.

You’re at good place when the dishes make you smile. That’s all I have to say.

http://www.fukuichidining.com.sg/

Fukuichi Japanese Dining
111 Somerset Road
#02-11/12 TripleOne Somerset
Singapore 238164
Tel: +65 6271 5586