Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Hipster Singaporean food at Sinpopo Brand - Katong / Joo Chiat.

With dozens of restaurants and cafés popping up around Singapore seemingly almost daily, eateries can sometimes tend to feel a little generic - after all, a burger joint is a burger joint is a burger joint, no? It takes quite a bit of differentiation and something special to get stand out of the crowd - which is what Sinpopo Brand is trying to do with its hipster, retro take on Singapore-Malaysian food favorites!

Sinpopo Brand

There's a bunch of interesting-sounding drinks - for example, Fake Bird's Nest and Longan Slushie - which we skip in favor of a childhood favorite a little closer to our hearts - the Sng Muay Pop ($5). It's essentially kat chai suen mui Mark-II: lime, bits of sour plum frozen in sour ice balls, plopped into sweetened soda water, and is actually pretty damn good.

Sinpopo Brand Sng Muay Pop

The Crab Wantons ($8) were a decent, if less than epiphanic starter. The the house dip was flavourful, and the wantons were nice and crispy, but were just missing a little depth of flavour.

Sinpopo Brand Crab Wantons

For our main course we went with the house special - Nasi Lemak for Two ($25), with free flow sambal (and presumably rice). The rice itself was a little mushy and underwhelming, which disappointed a little; The accompaniments ranged from utterly delicious (har cheong kai wings), so-so-lah (luncheon meat crisps, sambal fishballs, potatoes in curry) to "meh" (rojak slaw). Overall the set was pretty nice, but we weren't so sure if it's something we'd crave for in the future.

Sinpopo Brand Nasi Lemak For Two

With advancement in age comes a reduction in stomach capacity and a shrinking sweet tooth; so we only tried one dessert - the Gula Melaka Cake ($7). The cake has really simple execution - it's just a sponge cake with a layer of gula melaka glazing, but the balance of flavours and textures is sublime. Definitely a nice, sweet and satisfying end to the meal.

Sinpopo Brand Gula Melaka Cake

At just over $25 a person, we thought that the food was pretty reasonably priced (this is a restaurant/cafe after all). Food wasn't perfect, but it was good enough at the price point that we'll certainly come back to try some of the other items on the menu - the Sliced Wagyu Horfun sounds particularly interesting!

Sinpopo Brand is at 458 Joo Chiat Rd, S 427671; reservations not accepted. Non-halal.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

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


Ingredients
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.

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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.