24 March, 2007

Whitebait & Kale


Small Talk: I have a 15% food discount voucher from Whitebait & Kale... anyone who is interested to dine with me, please leave your comment behind and I will get in touch with you. Fresh Catch! Part 2 will be conducted on 14 April (Sat). For more details, please visit www.whitebaitandkale.com

Beginning of this month, an old friend of mine persuaded me to attend a cooking class conducted by Whitebait & Kale – “Fresh Catch! Part 1”.

It being my first cooking class, I was excited enough to convinced another of my friend to join us. Whitebait & Kale was the brainchild of owner Keith Loh, whose aim was to offer foodies a setting that combines quality fare, relaxed dining in effortless fashion.

Held in the comfort of the restaurant, the in–house cooking class was conducted by Head Chef Nabil Tan.

The first dish that was demonstrated was Fish Chowder with Hush Puppies. Like me, I reckon that many readers would wonder how this dish is associated with the famous footwear. Well, in actual fact, hushpuppies are finger-shaped dumplings of cornmeal. History has it that confederate soldiers when detected Yankee soldiers approaching, would toss their yapping dogs some of these fried cornmeal cakes with the command “Hush, puppies!”.

During the sampling, I find the soup to be tasty, however all of us felt that the hushpuppies should be best left for the dogs (At this point, we all wondered too why were made to consume food meant for the dog?!?). One interesting tip that I pick up though was that Saltine Crackers was crushed and added to the soup (in replacement of starch) to thicken the soup.

Next up was Gilthead Seabream baked with Lemon & Fennel, Hazelnut Brown Butter Sauce.

This dish totally dispels the notion that fresh fish must be steamed to taste good.

The Hazelnut Brown Butter Sauce was an excellent compliment to the fish, which has a hint of charred taste from the baking process.

The finale then came in the form of Linguine Caroccio Fruiti di Mare, or linguine with seafood baked in parchment paper. A pretty straight forward Seafood Marinara?

Or so we thought until we realised that the additional process of wrapping the linguine in the parchment paper and baking it, actually traps and brings out the essence of the sea - a truly delicious and aromatic dish.

One Orchard Boulevard
Camden Centre, #01-01
Singapore 248649

Gilthead Seabream baked with Lemon & Fennel, Hazelnut Brown Butter Sauce


600-700g Gilthead Seabream

1 nos Lemon (sliced)

1 small Fennel (sliced)

10g Dill (1 small bundle)

10g Basil (1 small bundle)

a pinch Sea Salt

a pinch Coarse Black Pepper

1 tbsp Extra-Virgin Olive Oil

30g Hazelnuts (toasted & coarsely chopped)

40g Unsalted Butter

1 tbsp Parsley

1 small Tomato (seeded & diced)

a pinch Salt


1. Score both sides of Seabream with a sharp knife

2. Insert lemon slices into slitted pockets

3. Stuff fennel, lemon slices, dill & parsley into stomach (cavity) of Seabream. Season with sea salt and pepper

4. Drizzle with olive oil & bake on tray in oven at 230°C for 20 minutes, or until fish flakes

5. Melt butter in a sauce pan over medium heat, continue heating until batter began to foam & burn slightly. Remove from heat

6. Let foam subside slightly. Add hazelnuts, tomato slices, parsley & salt

7. Spoon brown butter sauce over the entire Seabream & server immediately

Linguine Cartoccio Fruiti de Mare


500g Linguine Pasta

2 litres Water

8 pieces Medium Prawns (peeled, deveined, tail intact)

1 large Squid (cut into rings, tentacles trimmed)

12 pieces Clams (cleaned & scrubbed off any sand)

200g Snapper Fillet (cut into small pieces)

400ml Chopped Tomatoes

4 cloves Garlic (sliced)

20 ml White Wine

1 bunch Basil Leaves (coarsely chopped)

1bunch Italian Parsley (coarsely chopped)

20ml Olive Oil

to taste Salt & Pepper


1. Bring water to a rapid boil, add linguine & cook for about 5-6 minutes

2. Drain pasta & reserve

3. Sauté garlic with olive oil in a large sauce pan

4. When garlic starts to brown, add snapper pieces & cook for a minute

5. Add clams, prawns & squid, sauté for another 1 minute

6. Add white wine & simmer for another minute

7. Remove all seafood & set aside

8. In the same pan, add chopped tomatoes, basil, parsley, salt & pepper

9. Cook on medium heat until sauce reduced slightly, about 5 minutes

10. Toss linguine into the sauce & stir until pasta well coated with tomato sauce

11. Transfer linguine onto a large parchment paper

12. Lay all seafood over the linguine, wrap up into a parcel

13. Baked in pre heated oven at 200°C for 10-12 minutes

14. Open up and serve immediately

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19 March, 2007

Cake of Three Camps

When it comes to carrot cake, there are 3 camps – those which prefer the sweet BLACK sauce type, and those that go for the fried WHITE kind, yet there are some that prefer it frosted with Cream Cheese sort. As for me, I am all for my Carrot cake (the Chinese, hawker type), or Chai Tow Kway, to be fried the WHITE way.

White is RIGHT, as of most food, it is best eaten in its original flavour. Opting for the sweet dark sauce is almost as good as dipping your Waygu Steak in chilli sauce – you lose the original taste of the food, and simply tasting the sauce that overwhelms everything that goes with it. And without fail, when I am at Newton Hawker Centre, I would venture to Heng Carrot Cake at Stall 28.

Ask for him to fry it crispier and you will have the perfect carrot cake that is crispy and flavoursome on the outside, yet moist and soft on the inside. And with finely bits of Chai Poh, or preserved vegetables, and spring onions added to it, it didn’t take me long before I finish a whole plate to myself.

Food: 4/5
Service: 3/5
Ambience: 3/5
Price: 4/5

Total: 14/20
Stall 28, Newton Hawker Centre
500 Clemenceau Avenue North
Singapore 229495

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17 March, 2007

Being Original...

The good thing about working near town means you are never in shortage of good food, including dessert, during lunch hours. All you need is a short 15mins walk from my office and you will arrive at the famous Rochor Original Beancurd.

Story has it that how one brother after a family dispute, left to open a similar beancurd concept called Beancurd City right next to Rochor Original along Short Street. He has subsequently given up, and it seems the stall is now taken over by another sister of theirs who has started her own brand. Being the food investigator, it is of course my duty then to find out what is the staying power behind Rochor Original Beancurd.

I would say, in terms of the beancurd, both are almost similar, but I think Original has a slight edge, in terms of the smoothness and silkiness of the beancurd compared to latter.

It seems both outlet got their supply of egg tarts from the same supplier as the taste did not differ much, however the difference is evident when it came to the doughstick and the “butterfly” and “Hum Chi Peng” pastry.

Original doughstick and pastry are knead and fried on the spot, and because business is so brisk, these pastry are always piping hot when served.

And perhaps because of the lack in reputation and goodwill, the pastry served in the sister’s outlet tends to be colder and not as fluffy, as the crowd turnover is not as fast.

Food: 4/5
Service: 3/5
Ambience: 3/5
Price: 4.5/5

Total: 14.5/20
2 Short Street
Singapore 188212

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12 March, 2007

Sweet & Seductive Japanese

Guys like me think Japanese are sweet and seductive, but just in case your mind start wandering to those kawaii Japanese schoolgirls, let me just share with you that I am talking about food (I am a foodie, what else can I be talking about!?), but more precisely, their dessert. Making quite a buzz since its opening in Marina Square in the month of June 2006, Azabu Sabo, follows an original teahouse philosophy and serves authentic Japanese desserts. Its selection of desserts and Hokkaido Ice Cream, available for the first time in Singapore, has made itself especially popular with female clientele.

It is said that they directly imports the main ingredients from Japan, such as the top grade red beans, produced from Hokkaido, which are not overly-sweet. However, I beg to differ. I ordered by far the most popular and highly recognised Matchazen, or Green Tea Ice-Cream in a Bowl of Dumplings & Red Bean Paste, and was overwhelmed by the sweetness of the mushy red bean paste.

Thank goodness the strong bitter after-taste of the ice cream was able to neutralise it. The dumpling though tasteless was soft in texture and chewy, unlike those you bought off the supermarkets. Unlike the immaculate service that is found everywhere in the humble land of the rising sun, the service standards of this outlet was found lacking. The service staffs that day were mostly foreigners who did not seemed to have a good grasp of English. They had problems trying to understand my questions when I tried to find out more about the desserts, and they were particularly non-existent when I tried to settle the bill. What a pity though, if only they could import the sweet Japanese schoolgirls service culture as well.

Food: 3.5/5
Service: 2.5/5
Ambience: 3/5
Price: 3/5

Total: 12/20
6 Raffles Boulevard #02-170 / 171
Marina Square
Singapore 039594

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06 March, 2007

In India Eat What the Indians Eat

Ever since I have started working near Serangoon area, the temptation of sampling Indian food never stopped. From Roti Prata as morning breakfast to Nasi Biryani for lunch, I am surrounded by these delicious Indian cuisine (North or South Indian, Indian Muslim or what not) everyday. Finally, it took a nudge from my Indian colleague and there I was in front of an Authentic North Indian (Punjabi) Cuisine Restaurant in the heart of Little India.

With so many dishes to choose from, we were spoilt for choice.

Finally, my colleague from India volunteered to choose a few dishes that she deemed to be her favourite nice and that begins my little food adventure for the day. We opted for the Butter Naan, or a type of bread made from dough and butter (almost similar to prata) instead of the usual rice for a change.

The Palak Paneer, or Spinach with Cottage Cheese was a tad too authentic though for me.

Pretty bland and a bit too “greeny” for me, it was almost as good as eating a Broccoli raw! The Aloo Gobhi, or Potatoes with Cauliflower though was slightly better.

I love my potatoes and this dish had definitely more taste than the Spinach. This veggie is mushily good to go with the Naan, but however, if eaten with rice, I would think that it’s too starchy. Perhaps being a fellow potatoes lover, another dish she ordered was the Baked Potatoes with Capsicum.

This is the first time I have seen this combination and I must say I am pretty impressed with it. A hint of burnt flavour from the baking and the crunchy texture from the capsicum was a great complement. But the accolade truly belongs to the Butter Chicken that day.

The rich gravy made from yoghurt and cream, was a sinful yet delectable one, which I simply couldn’t resist dipping in my spoon again and again for another sip. The last time I had this dish was in Perth's Chutney Mary's and I never remembered it to be so delicious.

A pity though that the Mango Lassi was not as good as I thought it would be, as it was much too sweet for my taste bud.

Food: 3/5
Service: 3/5
Ambience: 3/5
Price: 4/5

Total: 13/20
34/36 Race Course Road
Singapore 218553

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