Thursday, December 27, 2012

Festive Plates of Pleasure at 10 @ Claymore, Pan Pacific Orchard

People always tell you that "with age comes Wisdom." What they don't tell you, is that reduced metabolism, appetite, and stomach capacity also come along for the ride. I mean I'm not old, I'm just now treading water into "medium adult" territory, but even then I find myself going to buffets less and less because I simply can't whack as much food as I used to.

Nevertheless, a good buffet once in a while is still awesome, just that the goal is slowly shifting from "stuff my face with as much food as possible" to "sample and taste the different foods on offer," ha ha!

Pan Pacific Orchard's 10 @ Claymore Restaurant serves up a relatively limited buffet spread, complemented by what they call "Plates of Pleasure." These plates are basically quarter-sized versions of ala-carte dishes, which you can order unlimited servings of.

Their cold appetizers station consists of salmon and tuna sashimi (nice and fresh), some assorted cold cuts, and parma ham with melon, which was pretty delicious. We ended up eating a lot more parma ham than sashimi. A selection of different breads and cheeses are available for you to mix-and-match - starting from mild cheeses like Camembert and Brie, and all the way up to Blue cheese.

The salad bar has some decent variety although strangely enough, we forgot (subconscious desire to skip the veg? Hmmm) to mix up a salad for ourselves.

The two carving stations for the day were a leg of lamb (pink, moist, juicy and tender), and the mandatory Turkey breast (seeing as it was Christmas eve). I'm personally not a huge fan of turkey because it's often cooked up really dry, but the turkey here was nice and decently juicy. Well, as juicy as an (almost) fat-free poultry breast can be.

For the hot foods station, the only dishes that stood out as being "nice" were perhaps the braised lamb shank, barbecue'd Pork Ribs, and the Singapore Chili Crab. The other dishes were forgettable at best.

Moving on to the Plates of Pleasure for the afternoon - House Pressed Chicken Snail Sausage, Penang Aromatic Spicy Prawn Noodle Broth, Norwegian Breed Wild Farmed Salmon, and Victoria Gippsland Natural Fed Tender Cut Angus Beef.

The surprise of the afternoon had to be the Prawn Noodle, which was delightfully faithful to the bowls you'd get all around Penang island. The steak was also nicely flavored and grilled, and it being served with truffle mashed potato was a bonus. Unfortunately the chicken sausage was rather run of the mill, and the salmon (is there even such a thing as "Wild Farmed Salmon?") was a little dry and overcooked.

Moving on to desserts, we really liked that the fruits counter had more participants than just the 'standard' watermelon/papaya/melon combination. Other cakes, pastries and tarts were overall pretty nice stuff, except for the log cake which turned out to be a durian log cake. We don't eat durian :P

For SGD58.00++ per person for lunch, we thought that the buffet was pretty good value for money. What we don't get in quantity is more than made up for in quality (considering the price we paid, of course). The restaurant was also not too crowded, so it doesn't get cramped or noisy.

10 @ Claymore is located in Pan Pacific Orchard Hotel, and gets its' name from the Hotel's address: 10 Claymore Road. Call up 6831 6686 for reservations. Non-halal.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Singapore's Best Burger? Omakase Burger @ (Former) Grandstand

Let me start off by saying that Omakase Burger isn't quite accurately named. It isn't anything like the Japanese omakase where you're at the "mercy" of the chef's whims and fancies (and talents). Instead, you order off a fairly standard list of available burgers, sides and drinks - like any normal burger joint.

Except that the burgers are anything but normal. There's been some talk going on about Omakase's burgers being the so-called current "best in Singapore," but that's a mighty bold claim in a city full of delicious burger goodness including Chef Daniel Boulod's db Burger over at his bistro in Marina Bay Sands.

Our order for the day was the Omakase Cheeseburger (SGD13.90) and Bacon Cheeseburger ($15.90), both Medium Rare, with a large side order of Truffle Fries (SGD7.90). The patties, which are ground, blended and hand-formed daily, are the juiciest I've ever eaten in a burger.

So juicy, in fact, that you really do need to eat quickly otherwise the juices flow out and turn the bottom half of the bun into a mushy mess of wet bread.

The other ingredients were perhaps less special; and in particular the Truffle Fries which could have used a lot more sprinkling of truffle oil. I mean, it's not like anybody this end of the budget spectrum uses real truffle oil anyway - it's all just olive oil with "truffle aroma."

Our burgers were washed down with A&W Root Beer floats (SGD5.50 each), with a generous helping of soft-serve ice cream.

So is this the "Best Burger in Singapore?" It's definitely a very good burger, and priced pretty reasonably too, but "best" is perhaps a step too far. Its' location is pretty crap too - you'll need to either drive here or take a taxi.

Omakase Burger is at The Grandstand of the former Turf Club (on the left of Giant supermarket if you're facing it). Non halal.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Superb Herbal Duck at Dian Xiao Er (Changi Airport T3)

We're back to reviewing yet another restaurant in Changi Airport - this time it's Dian Xiao Er in Terminal 3 (public area). We're pretty frequent diners at various restaurants in the airport, partially because we live and work in the East, but mostly because the public areas here is like a mini shopping centre. Plus, shopping's even cheaper than elsewhere in the country thanks to GST waiver :)

So anyway, Dian Xiao Er. Their main selling point here is their Roasted Duck, which comes in three different varieties - Angelica Herb, Wild Ginseng, and the one that we tried - Duck Roasted with Ten Wonder Herbs (SGD13.60 for a small portion). We really dig the strong herb-ey (in a Chinese way) gravy which complements the well roasted duck very well; although if you're not a duck lover this dish might not be for you as the poultry here has a fairly strong "duck" taste.

If you don't like duck it's OK, though, because the restaurant also serves a variety of other Chinese "Big Fry" style dishes. Our HK Style Fish Slices (SGD11.60) was pretty nice taste-wise, with a nice balance of sweetness and saltiness of the gravy. However what ruined the dish for us was that it had very obviously already been steamed prior to us ordering, and sitting out in the open for quite a while before being served - the slices of fish had already dried out from the air conditioning.

We also tried the Golden Tofu (SGD7.90), which honestly was nothing to shout about. The tofu is the "homemade" style and was sort of a cross between actual tofu and egg-tofu (like Japanese tofu).

So overall we come away with mixed feelings - we were as impressed with the duck as we were disappointed with the other dishes. Nevertheless we felt that the deliciousness of the roasted duck here warrants a return trip - the question then is whether to stick with the Ten Herbs sauce or to try one of the other sauces.

Dian Xiao Er currently has eight outlets around Singapore. Check out their Website for locations. Non-halal.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Personalized Western & Asian Food at Temptations, Bdr Mahkota Cheras

Temptations Restaurant and Bar in Bandar Mahkota Cheras is one of the very few places I know where you can actually call up the Chef and ask him to customize / personalize a meal for you (and your family). If you've got an upcoming date and your partner loves ribs, call up, and the Chef will happily go look for a nice rack for the day. It makes the entire dining experience pretty personal, especially since the Chef will likely also come out of the kitchen and pay you a visit to ask how everything is.

For my birthday lunch with family, my mum called up and requested for a decent steak, so the Chef went out and bought some Angus Rib Eye, served on a bed of mashed potatoes and broccoli. While I thought that the meat was well seared and well rested, I would have preferred a more substantial (read: thicker) cut of meat.

The Crispy Salmon comes with the same mashed potatoes and broccoli, served with a squash puree. I also thought that the fish was pretty well cooked, with the skin giving a nice crisp.

Coming back to the personalization thing. Temptations is a Western restaurant, but because my dad isn't a big fan of Western cuisine, the Chef bought and cooked up a nice pot of Curry Fish Head with rice and pappadum. It's not the best curry in the world, but it's solid enough to hold its' own in a proper curry restaurant.

One small minus point is that the place isn't air-conditioned. While it was plenty cool enough to have a comfortable lunch in, the lack of any (tinted) glass means that it can get a bit glaring for guests facing outside.

Friendly service and personalized food cooked to your liking - what's not to love, right? Unfortunately Temptations is located in Bandar Mahkota Cheras, and it seems the local populace doesn't perhaps have much stomach for medium-range Western Food. Pity, then, because it really is a pretty nice place to have a casual meal. Non-halal.

Phone Number: 03-9010 3020

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Have an Oinky good time at El Cerdo, Changkat Bukit Bintang, KL.

Happy December! December's always a fun time of month, what with the year-end, Christmas decorations everywhere, and with everyone taking a break from work (or to clear off their last remaining days of Annual Leave). Hopefully your December is full of fun and gifts and laughter too!

Anyways, El Cerdo over at Changkat Bukit Bintang has always been one of my favorite "special occasions" restaurants in KL. I've been there quite a number of times over the years but strangely I've never gotten round to blogging about it, so here goes!

El Cerdo is unashamedly all about celebrating porky goodness. The restaurant is decorated with drawings and paintings of pigs, cute little piggy figurines, etc. If you celebrate your birthday here, the staff will even add in a loud "oink oink" in between lines of "Happy Birthday to You."

The menu, naturally, is chock full of different kinds of porcine delights. Like this family-sized Jamon Serrano (RM88) - An assortment of Jamon Serrano and Iberico with Chorizo Sausages, melon balls, olives, nuts and salad. Plenty of different varieties of ham to go around the table!

My favorite dish of the night was the Oven Roasted Iberico Spare Ribs (RM88), served with a fairly forgettable Pineapple Salsa. The Spare Ribs, however, were utterly awesome. An almost-crispy outer crust thanks to the Maillard reaction, combined with the meat bursting with juice and chock-ful of porky flavor, this dish is a clear winner.

El Cerdo's main attraction, however, is the Cochinillo Alestili Segoviano (Roasted Suckling Pig, RM188 for half a piglet). When the piglet is served, one (or more) VIP's for the night gets to chop the piglet with a plate (to signify how tender it is), and then break the plate in a bucket. So that night being my birthday dinner night, I got to do the honours :)

What I've noticed over the years is that (i) the story that the waiter/waitress tells you as to why you're breaking the plate changes from time to time; and (ii) the price you pay for the suckling pig has increased quite a bit.

I also thought that despite the 24 hour soak they put the suckling pig through in the marination process, that the meat tasted relatively ... plain. I loved the crackling of the crispy piglet skin, but once that was done, the remainder of the meat was honestly not as succulent/delicious as I used to remember it.

The downside, of course, is that prices aren't cheap - and especially when you consider drinks (e.g. Peppermint Tea at RM8.50 ... really? Why do I pay 1500% mark-up for you to put a teabag into a pot of hot water?!?)

Nevertheless, El Cerdo remains one of my favorite joints in KL. Thanks to the constant choruses of "Happy Birthday" and all the plate-smashing going on, the restaurant has a very lively and happy atmosphere. Wait staff are friendly and charming, too. Reservations are essential on Friday and Saturday nights. Non-halal.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Lebanese Delicacies - Tarbush Restaurant, Sunway Pyramid

A little while ago (well actually ... more than a year ago), we visited Tarbush restaurant over at Empire Gallery and found the food pretty bland and the decor underwhelming. I'm not sure if that particular outlet is still open; what I do know is that the Sunway Pyramid branch (i.e. the one we actually like) is alive and kicking.

Arabic Mint Tea - to be honest I don't think this really tastes that much different than any other mint tea variety (peppermint, for example). It's pricey, too - something like rm6 per person.

I don't really eat brinjal / eggplant, so the Fetush Eggplant (salad with fried eggplant cubes) understandably didn't impress.

Hommus Tahinah - a must-order for any Arabian meal! This is a chickpea and sesame paste lathered with olive oil and is eaten as a dip with unleavened bread. Tarbush serves three different varieties for Hommus but this is the one we always keep coming back to.

You can choose from lamb, chicken, cheese or vegetables as stuffing for your Sambosas - crispy, savoury, yummy.

Moving on to mains - the Shish Kebab is always a hit with the family (including my two younger teenage sisters). The seasoned & spiced minced grilled lamb meat is tender, juicy, and doesn't have too much of a gamey taste.

If you prefer a little more variety, the Mix Grill might suit your fancy - it's a mixed meats platter of Shish Tawook (chicken), Shish Kebab, Lamb Cubes & Grill Arayes (meat-stuffed pita bread) served with a pretty generous serving of fries. It's actually enough to fill two regular-sized stomachs if you've been also filling up on appetizers.

Biryani Lamb - fragrant biryani rice with tender, juicy lamb chunks. Our order for the night had surprisingly little lamb in comparison to previous visits, checking in at a relatively measly three chunks to go with all that rice. And it's a pretty substantial heaping of rice, too.

Price-wise, we managed to feed a family of six for slightly under RM150 (after 15% discount from SCB Credit Card), so it actually does turn out to be pretty reasonably priced (and decent value for money). Food's overall good enough to keep its' spot as our default "go-to" restaurant whenever we have a hankering for Arabian cuisine.

Tarbush is located at LG2.123, Sunway Pyramid (Marakesh area near the blue lobby). The restaurant is open from 11am to midnight daily; call up +603 5633 9222 for reservations.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Colour Scheme of Wedding/Party. Have your favourite colour and wonder other colour matches it?

My favourite colour is purple. Have been cracking my head but stumble across this website. Pretty cool & impressive!

I'm going for Purple & Pink / Purple & Blue.

You can visit the site here for more advices & Wedding Tips! Click Here

Below images is links from the website which I believe is pretty useful for all!!

Pink Wedding Ideas Click Here

Blue Wedding Ideas Click Here

Green Wedding Ideas Click Here

Orange Wedding Ideas Click Here

Purple Wedding Ideas Click Here

Yellow Wedding Ideas Click Here

Red Wedding Ideas Click Here

Brown Wedding Ideas Click Here

Gray Wedding Ideas Click Here

Black & White Wedding Ideas Click Here

Gold Click Here

Sliver Wedding Ideas Click Here

Friday, November 16, 2012

Sin Heng (Herbal style) Claypot Bak Kut Teh

Generally speaking, Bak Kut Teh comes in two main varieties - the "Singapore style," which is relatively clear soup with loads of garlic and white pepper, and the Herbal soup style which (as its' name suggests, is a darker, stronger and thicker soup). Which style you prefer probably heavily depends on which soup you grew up drinking; since the darling and I grew up in Malaysia, we prefer the KL style.

Which is sort of a bummer in Singapore because we haven't really found any good herbal-style places so far. A friend of ours suggested Sin Heng Claypot Bak Kut Teh over on Joo Chiat Road, and since it was only about a 10 minute bus ride away, we pay a visit to see if it's any good.

The claypot BKT (without any spare parts) costs SGD12 and comes with a solid amount of meat for two average eaters. It's predominantly pork ribs; which are pretty tender without falling off the bone easily. However, we found that the soup was subpar, tasting of herbs and pepper and nothing else - in our opinion, a good BKT soup should also have a strong porky taste.

The egg fuyong with prawn (SGD7) is decently sized, and is pretty par for the course. Could perhaps use a tad bit more seasoning, though.

Kai Lan is also SGD7 ... normally we don't like ordering vegetables at restaurants because of the huge mark-up on the (extremely cheap) base cost of the greens, but with so much meat we felt compelled to order it.

Sin Heng is on 439, Joo Chiat Road. It's not within walking distance from an MRT station so you'll have to take a bus, or drive. In our opinion it's not good enough to really travel to eat on purpose, but as the restaurant is open til 4am in the mornings, it's available if you live nearby and need to satisfy a BKT craving :) Closed on Mondays. Non-halal.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Mondays in Lyon at Marina Bay Sands' db Bistro Moderne

I don't always look forward to Mondays. Pulling myself out of bed to go to work after a weekend of rest & relaxation isn't particularly high up on my list of enjoyable activities. What is on that list, though, is Mondays in Lyon over at db Bistro Moderne, one of Marina Bay Sands' Celebrity Chef Restaurants!

db Bistro Moderne is, of course, opened by Chef Daniel Boulud, a restaurateur who is probably most well known for his eponymous place Daniel in NYC, a 3-michelin starred restaurant which has been on Restaurant Magazine's list of The World's Best Restaurants for a remarkable eight years running.

The Singaporean outlet is helmed by Chef Stephane Istel, who's previously cooked across France, Savoie, the Côte d’Azur, from the Caribbean, New York and British Columbia. He's an affable, jovial chap who seems to have settled down in his Singapore kitchen pretty well.

The Mondays in _______ menu rotates every few months with a focus on the cuisine and ingredients in a particular town/city/region in France. For now up until the end of the year the focus is Lyon, which incidentally is where Chef Daniel grew up.

The menu comes with a choice of three starters, main courses and desserts. The first starter, one of Chef Daniel's signature dishes also available on the restaurant's regular offerings, is the Plateau de Charcuterie - a platter of delightful assorted cured meats, terrines, and pickles eaten with bread.

Soupe a L'Onion is a Classic French Onion & Beef Consommé with a liberal dosage of Gruyère cheese. Too liberal, perhaps - I thoroughly enjoyed the soup, but I ended up with several mouthfuls of chewy, chewy cheese that took a while to chew and swallow.

The Salade Lyonnaise is a frisée salad with chicken livers and bacon with a mustard and carrot dressing. Personally this was the starter that I enjoyed the least; maybe it's just me not being much of a salad person.

If you're into wine, a wine pairing option is available, with Les Vins de Vienne, Côtes du Rhône Blanc and Rouge 2010. The red is pretty strong and dry; unfortunately my wine nose and palate aren't mature enough to give you more information than that :)

The fish option for the mains is my favorite dish of the night. The Cabilleaud Poche - Poached Cod in a Nantua Sauce (a classical French Béchamel sauce with crayfish) - is delicious, with the cod being poached to perfection and nicely paired with the strong shellfish tastes of the sauce.

For vegetarians, or those of you avoiding meat, the Gratin de Cardons Dauphinois (Cardoon & Potato Gratin with Mushroom Fricassee) is a pretty hearty dish. I'm also a newcomer to the Cardoon, which is a vegetable which feels and tastes sort of like celery, only not as pungent.

Poulet au Vinaigre - Vinegar Braised Chicken served with Tarragon Rice Pilaf. The chicken was delicious, if not quite as moist and smooth as the breast we had at Petrus. Gravy was superb, though, especially when eaten with the rice.

Moving on to desserts, the Apple Tarte Fine would be my dessert of choice. The Apple Pie compote and Puff Pastry were pretty nice by themselves, but it was the accompanying Cognac Ice Cream that made the dessert simply sublime.

Coupe Chocolat et Marron is a selection of Valrhona Chocolate Ice Creams & Candied Chestnut with touches of edible Gold leaf. If you were wondering why the choice of Valrhona, it's because Valrhona actually does originate from Lyon.

Sadly I didn't much care for the third choice of desserts - the Ile Flottante - steamed meringue wedge floating in crème anglaise, with sugar-coated pink pralines. I thought that the meringue in itself was rather bland both from a texture and taste perspective, and the pralines were perhaps a bit too sweet.

The dinner finishes up with your choice of coffee/tea, and Chef Daniel's signature mini madeleines. I enjoyed these hot mini morsels a lot; too bad I couldn't stomach more than a few of them thanks to all the food I had throughout the night.

The Mondays in Lyon dinner goes for SGD68 per person (add on an additional SGD32 for the wine pairing), which in my opinion is a fair price for the ingredients used and the amount of love put in to the cooking. As its' name suggests, it's only available for dinner on Mondays, and only til the end of December (after which Chef will come up with a new Menu with focus on a different town/region). Non-halal.

** Please note that this was an Invited Review. Many thanks to Philicia and Elzena for the invite, and to Keropokman, Camemberu, My Food Sirens II and The Hungry Cow for the company :) **