Sunday, August 21, 2016

Broccoli with Egg Gravy (Wat Tan a.k.a. 滑蛋)

1 tablespoon Vegetable Oil
1 head diced Garlic
2 florets Broccoli
1 tablespoon of Filtered Water
125ml Filtered Water (Optional: Chicken Stock, Vegetable Stock)
1 teaspoon Corn Flour
0.5 teaspoon Salt
0.5 teaspoon Sugar
1 teaspoon Worcester Sauce
1 teaspoon Fish Sauce
2 teaspoons Shaoxin Wine
Dash of White Pepper
1 beaten whole egg (Optional: 1 whole Egg White only)

Part 1: Heat pan then add Vegetable Oil. Pick up the pan and carefully swirl it to coat the bottom and sides. Add the Garlic and stir them until fragrant. Add Broccoli and 1 tablespoon of Filtered Water, cover and cook. Stir-fry until the broccoli is bright colored or until cooked. Dish the cooked broccoli into the serving plate, if possible leave the cooked garlic in the pan.

Part 2: Using the same pan. Pour in the mixed Filtered Water & Corn Flour, bring it to a simmer. Add all the seasoning (Salt, Sugar, Worcester Sauce, Fish Sauce, Shaoxin Wine, White Pepper), stir and let it simmer down.

Lastly, remove pan from heat and slowly drizzle in beaten egg, stirring gently with a fork in a clockwise motion. Pour egg gravy over Broccoli.

Below are my creations of varieties hopefully it'll inspire you. Hope you all will love this recipe.

Broccoli, Wolf-berries with Egg Gravy
1 tablespoon dried Wolf-berries

Add into Part 2 before adding all the seasoning.

Broccoli, Carrots with Egg Gravy
1 handful of sliced Carrot

Add into Part 1 together with the Broccoli.

Click here for our blog page Cooking Recipes - Chinese Cuisine for more recipes. Hope you will be inspired~

Sunday, August 7, 2016

The Oriental Club at the Mandarin Oriental Singapore (Club Lounge)!

In December last year (yes ... this post is almost eight months late 😰) the darling and I celebrated a birthday with a staycation at the Mandarin Oriental Singapore's Ocean Grand Room. It was a gorgeous, comfortable room with an amazing view of the Singapore Flyer, MBS and the Gardens by the Bay.

Mandarin Oriental Singapore Ocean Grand Room View

Our room also came with Club Lounge access - at the contemporary-oriental-decor'ed Oriental Club on the 19th floor. We thought the lounge was pretty gorgeous - with dark wood and woody accents everywhere, and cheongsam-clad waitresses providing a splash of oriental flair.

Mandarin Oriental Singapore Oriental Club Lounge
Mandarin Oriental Singapore Oriental Club Lounge

The view is a little underwhelming, to be honest ... even at night when the lights come on.

Mandarin Oriental Singapore Oriental Club Lounge

The main benefits of having access to the Oriental Club (other than having a nice place with comfortable sofas to lounge around and relax in) are:

👉 Private check-in and check-out at the Oriental Club Lounge
👉 Champagne breakfast and afternoon tea, and all-day soft beverages
👉 Evening cocktails and hors d’oeuvres

There's a huge range drinks-wise - sparkling & still water, juices & soft drinks, assorted beers, premium TWG teas, champagne and a collection of spirits and liqueurs. As we don't drink we can't comment on how good (or bad) the booze was, but the rest of the range was great - especially the teas.

Mandarin Oriental Singapore Oriental Club Lounge Beverages and Drinks
Mandarin Oriental Singapore Oriental Club Lounge Beverages and Drinks
Mandarin Oriental Singapore Oriental Club Lounge Beverages and Drinks

The afternoon tea and evening hors d'ouevres both have a surprisingly substantial spread of food. Nowhere near as substantial as a proper high tea or buffet dinner, of course, but with enough variety of hot food, cakes, pastries and other sweets to feed you for the entire afternoon / evening.

Cocktails & certain alcoholic drinks are complimentary during evening cocktail hours.

Mandarin Oriental Singapore Oriental Club Lounge High Tea and Cocktails
Mandarin Oriental Singapore Oriental Club Lounge High Tea and Cocktails

After a good night's sleep, you have the option to have your breakfast at the Oriental Club - which you should most certainly take advantage of in order to avoid the crazily overcrowded main restaurant. Helps that the breakfast spread is pretty damn good - hot food, cold cuts, juices and pastries - plus a nice made-to-order menu! We ordered Eggs Benedict and the Singapore Wanton Noodle Soup, both of which were well executed.

Mandarin Oriental Singapore Oriental Club Lounge Breakfast
Mandarin Oriental Singapore Oriental Club Lounge Breakfast

So is access to the Oriental Club worth the money? It's a bit hard to say. If you're in the city for a holiday or for business/work, you'd likely be out of the hotel for most of the day, so you wouldn't really be able to take advantage of the benefits anyways. But on the other hand if you're pampering yourself to a rest & relax staycation then we would definitely highly recommend it. Two thumbs up!

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Salted & Hung - Delicious Modern Australian Cured & Grilled Meats.

"All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others." Under normal circumstances this would be a stark reminder on how powerless us common plebs are in comparison to the aristocracy; demonstrated particularly bitterly by a certain Malaysian Official #1 whose identity is all but known to anyone who cares.

But this is a food & travel blog, not a political one, and Salted & Hung is a restaurant, not a hall in parliament, so let's skip the melodrama and move on to the food!

Salted and Hung all animals are equal

This Modern Australian-ish restaurant on Purvis Street (in between Bugis Junction and Raffles Hotel) specializes in cured & grilled meats, and serves up all manner of cured, grilled, smoked and pickled dishes in relatively small portions designed to be shared by the whole table.

There's also an interesting sub-focus on the 'path less traveled' - i.e., cuts of animals that aren't commonly served in Singapore such as tripe, tongue and sweetbreads. Oh, and they actually cure most of their meat in house.

Salted and Hung Ham Fridge

We start off with Crab ($23): A nice portion of fresh, vinegary crab meat, made awesome by a dollop of creamy, briny uni, and thin sliced apple. The asparagus being served cold was a little unusual to our palettes, but other than that this was a faultless start to the meal.

Salted and Hung Crab

Next up: Pork Jowl ($18), which was a bit of a disappointment. The jowl was garnished with samphire and dandelion (both of which are new ingredients to us), and thin slices of chewy abalone. Overall the dish was seasoned well and had nice flavour, but we couldn't get over just how chewy both the pork and the abalone slices were.

Salted and Hung Pork Jowl

In contrast, the Iberico Secreto ($32) ranks right up there as one of the best pork dishes we've ever tasted. Secreto is Spanish for secret, so Iberico Secreto roughly translates to "a secret cut from an Iberico Black Pig." Google seems undecided about where exactly this secret cut comes from, but in any case this particular hunk of meat on our plate is tender, juicy, tasty, cooked perfectly sous-vide and then seared. The pickled kohlrabi (sort of from the cabbage family) is sweet with a hint of sour, and is a great accompaniment to the meat.

The only downside? This dish is a special and not a regular menu item.

Salted and Hung Iberico Secreto

For our sides - we ordered the Kale ($14) and Black Mash ($10). The Kale is cooked & tossed in a cheese sauce and is served with some nicely toasted pine nuts - not too bad for a vegetable dish.

The Black Mash, as you might have guessed, is a pot of mashed potato that owes its midnight black colour to squid ink and charcoal. It's an amazing experience: The brain insists that something so black and served in a pot (with a leaf on the side, no less) should taste like soil and dirt, but the tongue says it's rich, creamy, mashed potatoes with just the right sprinkling of salt.

Salted and Hung Kale and Black Mash

This restaurant isn't cheap: Five plates and two soft drinks came in and just under $130 - and the darling and I have small stomachs. Regular appetites could easily do four plates each. Overall, we really enjoyed our dinner, though, and wouldn't hesitate coming back again.

Salted & Hung is located at 12, Purvis Street, and is open for lunch & dinner on weekdays, and dinner only on Saturdays (closed on Sundays). Non-halal.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Modern, Creative, Fancy Chinese (Cantonese) Cuisine at Kai Garden, Marina Sqaure.

Chinese restaurants can be a bit indistinguishable, sometimes, with different restaurants across different chains and cuisine types sharing many similar menu items. So it was quite refreshing to hear that Chef Fung Chi Keung, formerly from Mandarin Orchard and the Paradise Group, has struck out on his own and established Kai Garden restaurant in an attempt to put a few modern, creative twists on traditional Cantonese Cuisine. Suitably armed with an excuse to spend (i.e., a special occasion), we paid the restaurant a visit last weekend to sample Chef's cuisine.

Kai Garden Marina Square

The creativity starts off with one of Chef Fung's signature appetizers - Chilled Cherry Foie Gras ($24): Chilled balls of foie gras pâté shaped to resemble cherries. It's a very amusing and playful start to the dinner, but your enjoyment would really depend a lot on whether you like pâté in the first place. The darling and I are huge fans of pan-seared foie, but not the minced variety, so this was taste-wise a bit "meh" for us.

Kai Garden Marina Square Chilled Cherry Foie Gras

We move on, then to the Crispy Whole Peking Duck ($88). The duck itself is superb, with crispy, fragrant skin clinging on to just the right amount of fat underneath. What's unique about the rendition here at Kai Garden are multi-coloured pancakes (the different colours coming naturally from adding charcoal, beetroot, lettuce and pumpkin respectively), and a variety of different dipping/spreading sauces.

If you're a traditionalist you'd probably stick to flavouring your pancakes with the regular sweet & tangy peking duck sauce, but if you're up for some experimenting, there are mixed, black pepper, sesame and seafood (with crab meat) sauces as well.

Kai Garden Marina Square Peking Duck
Kai Garden Marina Square Peking Duck

Did I mention that the skin of the duck is oh-so-crispy? Definitely one of the better peking ducks in town.

Kai Garden Marina Square Peking Duck

Next up - the Live Garoupa in Lobster Soup. This is by far the most well presented (Chinese cuisine) fish dish I've ever been served. The fish is brought to the table with its fillets pre-sliced and still raw, poached in the umami lobster broth, and immediately served in individual portions.

Kai Garden Marina Square Garoupa in Lobster Soup

The lobster broth is a just-right, perfect accompaniment to the delicate, perfectly-cooked fish slices. It's just the right consistency (it's a soup/broth and not a bisque), and is just flavourful enough to accompany, and not overpower, the fish. The dish tastes just as amazing as it looks.

Kai Garden Marina Square Garoupa in Lobster Soup

The rest of the fish - bones, head, etc - is then taken away and cooked with salt & pepper so as not to go to waste. This sort of excellence doesn't come cheap, though - the fish is "seasonal price" on the menu; during our visit it was a staggering $20/100gm (this 1kg fish alone cost more than all the other dishes combined).

Kai Garden Marina Square Garoupa in Lobster Soup

Another of chef's creative takes on traditional Chinese/Cantonese dishes: the Sweet and Sour Pork on The Rocks ($22). Yes ... this is essentially fancy gu lou yuk (咕噜肉). Nevertheless the meatball is delicious, with an interesting core of fresh milk and coconut milk, surrounded by minced pork with a crispy honey shell. I don't really understand what the ice is for, though.

Kai Garden Marina Square Sweet and Sour Pork on The Rocks

Just to check off the food pyramid checklist - the Wok Fried Hong Kong Kai Lan ($20), which had quite a bit of oomph on the flavour department thanks to the umami from the anchovies.

Kai Garden Marina Square Wok Fried Hong Kong Kai Lan

A final tummy filler: the meat from the peking duck, stir-fried with mee sua ($18). Competent and well-executed, if a little bland / normal compared to the rest of the menu.

Kai Garden Marina Square Duck Meat with Mee Suah

Additional costs to the bill: Chinese Tea & tid-bits ($17.40 for 6 pax), service charge and GST, which pushed us up to $450 for 6 people. Other than the Garoupa, I would say that Kai Garden's menu items are good value for money, considering the taste, quality, and effort involved to prepare and present.

The Garoupa, on the other hand ... it was a very accomplished dish, and one of the better fish renditions I've had in a long while, but it is pricey as hell.

In any case, overall my family and I were thoroughly impressed with the effort Chef Fung is taking to try and revitalize / modernize Cantonese dishes, without departing too far from how they are expected to taste, and would not hesitate to recommend the restaurant.

Kai Garden is on the third floor of the Marina Square mall (same wing as the food court). Open for lunch and dinner seven days a week. Non-halal.