Archive

Tag Archives: Scenic

A pancake milestone.

imageMy cwazy friend from Hong Kong was in town and because I never believed her that she could actually show me some decent Okonomiyaki in Singapore and since during all of her prior visits we never managed to come here, she finally dragged me down to ‘Nanjya Monjya‘ by the river. The place was packed and even with our (rather short notice) reservation we only managed to get a seat outside which wasn’t too bad on a beautiful evening like today. The only unfortunate thing was, that outside, the Okonomiyaki were served on plates while inside they cook it just in front of you.

The pork one became my numero uno with its’ tasty belly slices, a nice and fluffy mix of dough and cabbage and I totally loved the extra pickles too. The kimchi version was less impressive, also nice but a bit bland and didn’t really get that kimchi punch going that I was hoping for, it was actually more like a vegetarian version of the first one. Both could have used another centimeter in thickness and diameter, but that said, they’re still the giants under the Singaporean okonomiyaki.

imageBefore the pancakes, pizzas, omelettes or whatever you want to call them, we also had a round of small dishes for starters. There was some weird dried and then grilled stingray carvings which sounded as interesting as they tasted oddly, way too fishy for me though.  Those were followed by a bunch of decent crispy chive gyoza and probably one of the best Miso Nasu (eggplant) I have ever had around here. It was spoon squeezing soft, nearly like caramelised and still wonderful savoury. Pretty wicked.

I had to hand it to her, this was a pretty awesome but next time I’ll try to get a seat inside, as even though it’s a scenic atmosphere out by the river, okonomiyaki still belong on a hot sizzling plate.

Nanjya Monjya Japanese Restaurant
390A Havelock Road
#01-03/04/05 Waterfront Plaza
Great Corpthorne Waterfront
Singapore 169664
Tel: +65 6738 7177
http://www.nanjya-monjya.com/

Premium Wagyu cuts at Boat Quay.

imageI was very happy to receive the invitation to a food tasting from the people behind new ‘Arashi Yakiniku’ 嵐 down at Boat Quay and so made my way down there today directly after work. It is nestled in between the shophouse pubs and restaurants along the riverside, offering in- as well as outdoor seating for a more scenic setting. We were greeted warmly by the staff and shortly after food started flowing to our table.

The menu started up with their ‘Wakame Miso Soup‘ (わかめ味噌汁) which had a light delicate broth with some soft tofu bits and seaweed floating around in it. This proofed to be a great palette cleanser throughout the whole meal as well which was perfect to slurp on between the different meats. We also had the ‘Namuru‘, a selection of small vegetable starters like pickled crunchy bean sprouts, squeaky spinach and shimeji mushrooms.

imageNow it was time for the main act and the starting round was a selection of Australian Wagyu cuts (オーストラリア和牛). First we had the ‘Beef Tongue‘ (中落ちカルビ) and I didn’t really know what to expect as I had never tried this before and to be honest tongue also never sounded too appealing to me. To my surprise it was actually super nice to eat and pretty delicious. It tasted much more delicate than I had expected, with a solid and strong beef flavour, fire kissed crisp on the edges but still lovely chewy and firm. Together with the dipping salt and freshly squeezed lemon this was a lot of fun to eat and one of my favourite and most surprising dishes of the entire dinner.

imageAfter this promising start we continued with more premium cuts – ‘Sirloin‘ (サーロイン) and ‘Ribeye‘ (リブアイ). The sirloin was nicely marbled causing the meat to be wonderfully soft and just melting away in my mouth. The ribeye on the other side had a great charr and a much more robust texture and flavour to it, while still being perfectly tender. Alongside these meats they served their special ‘Arashi Sauce‘ which was refreshingly sweetish and spicy. I couldn’t figure out where the heat was coming from and the chef keeps the recipe very close to his chest so I had to enjoy it unknowingly the ingredients. Normally I wouldn’t touch sauce with these kind of special meats but this was just too good to ignore so I gave it a fifty-fifty dipping ratio. We also had some veggies to go with it all – shitake, leek, pumpkin and asparagus – which  even though nothing overly exciting worked nicely together with the other, sesame vinegar sauce and added some nice texture and taste diversion to the meal.

imageLast of the “aussis” was the ‘Harami/Outskirt‘ (牛ヒレ) that had hardly any marbling and therefore was of much darker colour. The flavour had a more solid taste, down to earth, genuine beef, more rustic and familiar, which was a great alternative in between the other more posh cuts.

imageThis all has been pretty great already but then the chef did send us some platters of their A4 grade Japanese Ohmi Wagyu (日本のウ牛(和牛)) which gave us a second upwind and excitement. The ‘Karubi/Short Rib‘ (カルビ) had a light taste with a certain nuttiness to it. It was delicious, just the thick streak of fat could have been a bit thinner for my liking but gave it all an interesting chunky texture.

imageNext we got to make the direct comparison between the Australian and the Japanese version as the  A4 ‘Sirloin‘ (サーロイン) and ‘Ribeye‘ (リブアイ) came out to our table. The sirloin was the peak of indulgence, so rich and marbly that I reckoned it was best to be consumed in small portions, not to be too overwhelming. Crazy good.

imageEven though I didn’t think it could have gotten much better the ribeye surely proofed me wrong and became my unrivalled winner of the evening. Still madly rich like meaty butter this cut was perfectly separated into three different sections of goodness – from a darker, meatier and deeply beefy tasting piece, over the thick middle section of a pure melt-in-your-mouth streak of fat onto the thickly marbled end piece. Outstanding.

imageAll those premium cuts of beef were accompanied by their simple but delicious ‘Garlic Fried Rice/ Ninniku Chahan‘ (にんにくチャーハン). Unfortunately not using the typical Japanese sticky and roundish grains, the rice still had a great bite to it, fragrant and loaded with heaps of fried garlic without being overly oily. Simple and savory comfort food.

‘Arashi’ is a casual place with a minimalistic interior that offers high quality food to moderate prices. We really enjoyed the Australian as well as the A4 Japanese beef cuts a lot and if wished they also can hook you up with highest grade A5 Wagyu, subject to availability and pre-order. A special thanks goes to Roysten for the kind invitation and hospitality and Nikki who helped us grilling our meats so perfectly. Best of success and thanks for a great night of indulgence. I’ll come back.

Arashi Yakiniku Charcoal Grill Restaurant 嵐
No.48 Boat Quay
Singapore 049837
Tel: +65 6535 2841

Pancake with a view.

imageI was back in Taipei and since besides beef noodles there are also countless Japanese restaurants down here I chose ‘Dohton Bori’ at the Att4fun mall in Xinyi for some proper ‘Okonomiyaki‘ tonight.

I was tempted by the kimchi okonomiyaki but decided to go for the original one with pork. It was pure torture watching them preparing it in front of me  for the next 15 minutes, during which my hunger grew bigger and bigger. When it was finally ready I started digging so fast that the first half disappeared in just a few seconds. It was great, the dough was fluffy and light and I particularly enjoyed the crunchy pickled ginger bits. Just the pork wasn’t nice at all and tasted like old grease so I picked it out and left most of it back on the side of my plate.

Despite the smelly clothes after and the little pork incident I actually quite enjoyed my pancake and the show effect of the live cooking paired with stunning views of the 101 across the street put ‘Dohton Bori’ on my “come back to” list.

Okonomi-Yaki Dohton Bori 道とん堀 / 道頓堀御好燒
5F ATT 4 FUN
12 Songshou Road 松壽路12
Xinyi District
Taipei
Taiwan
Tel: +886 2 7737 8885 ‎
http://www.dohtonbori.com/tw/

Finally some heat.

imageAfter a couple of days on Trawangan we figured it’s quite tough to get real Indonesian food down here – maybe apart from the nightmarket  – and therefore didn’t feel guilty going for some Italian tonight. I found the chain of ‘Trattoria Cucina Italiana’ on the internet and as it was also ridiculously close to our hotel and we were exhausted from all that sunbathing we came here for dinner.

I generally prefer a thin crust but this ‘Diavola’ was a tad too thin for me, still good but I missed a little bit of dough to chew one since this crust just crumbled away on me. The sugo-cheese-ratio was as usual leaning towards the cheesy side but the taste wasn’t bad at all and to my great joy this thing was sweat-on-forehead spicy. Funny only I had to go to an Italian restaurant for that.

Trattoria Cucina Italiana
Beach Front
West Nusa Tenggara 83000
Gili Trawangan, Lombok
Indonesia
Tel: +62 8190 798 2995
http://www.trattoriaasia.com/

First lunch in paradise.

imageThis year’s holidays brought us to beautiful Gili and our first stop was Trawangan Island. Down the beach from our hotel was ‘The Pearl Beach Lounge’ which we decided to have lunch today.

My main was the ‘Stir Fried Chicken in Bamboo‘ which was covered in a thick glaze sauce, a bit sweetish but delicious as well crunchy from the cashew nuts, the quinoa aside together with the customized cinnamony mango chutney made great condiments.

imageFor starters I had a chilled ‘Garlic Cucumber Soup‘ which was tasty and super refreshing, perfect for a hot day like this but also quite sharp from the huge amounts of raw garlic which gave me severe dragon breath and made my stomach growl for a little while after.

imageFantastically tasty and salty were also their ‘Waterspinach Feta Cheese Rolls‘ that reminded me of greek spanakopita and worked pretty well together with the grilled pepper dip that gave it a fruity contrast.

This is a very nice place, stylish, extremely friendly staff, delicious food and all at a prime location right on the water, if only just the dishes weren’t so damn westernized. There wasn’t a hint of chili or spiciness to be found even after asking for several different sambal which was a big disappointment knowing how great Indonesian sambal can be . However one of the better places to be eaten at when being on Trawangan.

The Pearl Beach Lounge
Jalan Gili Trawangan
West Nusa Tenggara 83355
Gili Trawangan Island – Lombok
Indonesia
Tel: +62 812 3812 999
http://pearlbeachlounge.com/

Steak at the river.

imageAfter my Germany trip had kicked off with the beautiful wedding of my beautiful sister I had to face reality and go to Heidelberg for a week’s work. On Monday evening then I went together with a colleague to meet some friends that just had moved back to Heidelberg from India. We met for dinner at the ‘Bootshaus’ and were lucky enough to get a seat outside on their little terrace overlooking the banks of the Neckar river.

I had their ‘400gr Rumpsteak‘ which was fantastic. The meat was very lean but still had a very strong beef flavor and was nicely juicy. The charred crust of the steak was super crisp from the broiling and added a nice new texture to the humongous piece of meat. The kicker was their garlic/herbal butter that was extremely creamy and tasted heavenly together with the beef. The side salad was good but drowned in dressing and the roasted potatoes were perfect crisp on the outside and juicy on the inside. I loved this steak but I wished I had remembered that a German medium always tends a little more towards well done.

I liked this place a lot as it was particularly nice on this scenic sunny afternoon sitting on their terrace, overlooking the river and enjoying great quality food served up by their very attentive and friendly waiters.

http://www.dasbootshaus.com/

Das Bootshaus
Schurmanstrasse 2
69115 Heidelberg
Germany
Tel: +49 6221 25396