24 September, 2007

Living to Standards of the Mainstream

There are often times in life when you try so hard but people around you don’t appreciate. People often expect perfection from others and demand standards only best known to themselves. However, in my opinion - it’s the simple things in life that truly satisfies even though it might differ from the mainstream!

Over at Ohsho, you get to indulge in simple Japanese-fusion fare and I was overwhelmed. We tried the Tori-Kara-age, or the Japanese Deep-Fried Chicken, and boy was it good! A wrench of the lemon and you have the perfect combination of sour, salty, crispy and intense flavour of the chicken with each greasy bite – served fresh when ordered.

Added chunky delights came in the form of Funky Potato – a dish of Tori-Kara-age with Crinkle Cut Fries dose in Chilli Sauce, although I would have to add that this dish reminded me more of my good old primary school days than a Japanese fare.

We also ordered a serving of Chahan, or the Japanese Fried Rice. Of course, we all know that the difference between the Japanese version and its Chinese cousin lies in its grain. Japanese grain tends to be shorter and the rice – stickier, and therefore the art to cook it well lies in the emulsion process - the combination of eggs first emulsifying together with the oil in the pan, and then adding the rice later into the semi-cooked eggs, created the best tasting sensation.

And I have to say they did a pretty good rendition of it. The Wok Hei flavour was captured in the dish, but the dish could do even better with another dash of salt. Lastly, the Gyoza was also delectable. The skins are so different from the mainstream ones where it's all thick and starchy!

Although Yaki-Gyoza, or pan-fried preparation method is usually first fried on one flat side, creating a crispy skin, then, stock is added and the pan sealed with a lid, until the upper part of Gyoza is steamed, Ohsho’s version seemed to be a little too dry. However, the fact that the Gyoza’s skin is so well pan-fried makes up for it.


Food: 3.5/5
Service: 3.5/5
Ambience: 3/5
Price: 4/5
Total: 14/20
#01-10 Cuppage Plaza
5 Koek Road
Singapore 228796

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21 September, 2007

Hey Fishy Fishy

Eating greasy hawker food for lunch almost everyday makes me look forward to a nice bowl of piping hot fish porridge more often than not. As mentioned, I find the clear and healthy fish soup simply irresistible. At Pek Kio Food Centre, I find another gem in Ng Seng Heng Teochew Fish Porridge and Seafood Assorted Soup.

Used to be located at Albert Street, the stall is operated by an elderly couple. Try conversing with them in Teochew and they will gladly throw in a bit more ingredients for you. This is one of those stalls in the food centre where a queue snakes to the next stall – surely a sign of good food! What I like about the stall is that you can request to have bitter gourd added to your porridge and also a choice of Batang fish or Pomfret to choose from.

What’s more, you can also request to have the Fish Roe added for kicks for not more than $5 a serving. Generous amount of Bitter Gourd simply make up for the gain in cholesterol from the fish roe. A pity is that the fish roe was not deep-fried before serving – that would simply make it more sinful but surely heavenly!

The soup is clear and flavoursome, definitely an indication that the stock was brew for many hours. However while the quality is good, some may find the wait too long. Likewise I was slightly disappointed that the Pomfret was not as fresh as the Batang. Nevertheless, a meal I was very much satisfied.


Food: 4/5
Service: 3/5
Ambience: 4/5
Price: 3.5/5
Total: 14.5/20

Blk 41A Cambridge Road #01-46
Pek Kio Market And Food Court Centre
Singapore 211041

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16 September, 2007

Prime Meat

One of my rare appearances in the East side of Singapore finally brought me to the long awaited Aston Specialities. This Western food eatery started off as a humble hawker stall in a coffee shop a few doors away. Headed by Mr Aston Soon, 34, an ex-Ponderosa chef, this restaurant has already drawn excellent reviews with good steak at affordable prices all over Singapore.

Having heard so many people raving about this establishment, I was very much excited to dine in this place. I opted for the Prime Ribeye XtraCut (Medium Rare) with Potato Salad and Baked Beans as sides, and boy am I captivated! The cut had a slightly higher marbling fat content than the usual Ribeye I have tried, making it juicer and succulent, and the black grill lines produced a charred smoky touch to the tender beef.

It has been a long time since I had such a wonderful piece of steak. The medium rare that I dictated was also well executed giving the meat an extra sweetness and moistness. However, the sides were very much below par – the potatoes were too undercooked for consumption, and the baked beans were just as unappetising. However $34.80 for two slabs of beef and two drinks is definitely worth it, and I would definitely be coming back for their Celebrities Cut – Wagyu Beef priced at $38.90 the next time round!


Food: 4/5
Service: 3.5/5
Ambience: 3.5/5
Price: 4.5/5
Total: 15.5/20
119 East Coast Road
(Opposite Katong Mall)

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08 September, 2007

Nihon Banzai

August has been a busy month for me. Besides having to attend a course twice a week after office hours, friends and relatives has been generous to buy me treats over this period because of my birthdays. Besides swearing by greasy hawker delights as my favourite, my other pet is Japanese food. It is during one of these treats that I was introduced to this Japanese restaurant, Nihon Mura at Revenue House.

Part of the sister chain to Suki Group, who brought in Suki Sushi and Sakura, this new entrant is offering sushi dishes at 99 cents each.

It is made possible, according to their director, Mr Kelvin Ong, because their business strategy is to avoid malls, which are overflowing with other chains, and opt for less expensive venues in suburban areas to keep prices low.

However, despite offering cheap conveyor-belt sushi, the peeve is that none of the tables are located next to it; hence you have to walk over to help yourself to the sushi.

The restaurant also comprises of various sections including:



and Noodles, other than the Sushi - which is ready-made - all the other dishes are represented in placards placed in front of the stations, beside a batch of ice lolly sticks etched with the name of the dish.

Interestingly, to order, you collect the sticks of the dishes you want and hand them to a waiter with your table number, or simply drop these lolly sticks into a cup placed at your tables, and the waiter will collect it and take order.

With the amount of variety to choose from, the standard of the dishes were unexpectedly of a high standard.

Even the Sashimi were surprisingly fresh, so much so that we had a second order of the Akagai, or the Red Shell Fish, which is bigger version of what we commonly known as Cockles. The meat was so sweet and the texture was firm.

The other dish I enjoyed was the Salmon Belly Soup. A bowl of piping hot soup served in a ceramic pot with generous serving of vegetables and chunky pieces of Salmon Belly Meat was such a delight that we ordered a second serving as well.

For a lunch of 7 adults and 1 child, the whole meal was $220, which worked out to be slightly over $30 per person. My overall verdict is that for the price we are paying, all the dishes are pretty good. The only regret is that as most dishes are served at one go, such that some of the turned cold before we could have a chance to sample it. Nevertheless, this is definitely a good place to go for family gatherings and friends reunion dinner.


Food: 4/5
Service: 3.5/5
Ambience: 4/5
Price: 4/5
Total: 15.5/20
55 Newton Road
#02-02 Revenue House
Singapore 307987

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03 September, 2007

French ain't that fine

The sisters did a stopover at Singapore before they headed back for Perth, and we decided to buy them dinner at a French fine dining cuisine tucked at the corner of Little India in Serangoon Road.

Over at The French Stall, French expatriates dine alongside locals as everyone sits elbow to elbow in this quaint corner coffeeshop, chattering above the droning whir of wall-mounted electric fans. Oversees by Mr Xavier Le Henaff, who was a chef with a 5-star hotel (presently a Relais Chateau) in Madina, all of us went with high expectations but alas it was not meant to be. For starters, we had the French Onion Soup.

Two slices of Baguette with Mozarella Cheese were soaked in the soup. However, the soup lacked the overwhelming onion flavour and was watery. We also tried the Demi-douzaine D’Escargots Petit Gris au Beurre a L’Ail, or simply Escargots (half dozen) in Garlic Butter Sauce.

The dish was shameful as I was expecting it to come intact with shells such that the flavour could be trapped and sealed in it, but it was not and the taste was a total letdown. The snails were tasteless, as the sauce was not infused nicely with it. We also sampled the infamous Foie Gras, but however their Pan Fried Foie Gras, Spinach and Balsamic Jus was not up to scratch as well. For a dish priced at $18.80, all we had was two pathetic thinly sliced liver that was overcooked and mushy.

I am a firm believer that Foie Gras, just like a good piece of steak, need not come too big a serving, but it must be thick - a thin slice of liver simply does not do this dish justice! Ended off the night with a main of Duck Confit with Orange Peel sitting on Risotto, and was really disillusioned once again. The serving was small and the meat was way to dry for consumption.

The duck taste was totally overwhelmed by the crispy burnt smell from the cooking process. Service was also found to be wanting at the place as mismatch utensils, or worse, no utensils were provided for some of our dishes. One of their service staff was also rather rude when she spoke to us and blatantly ignored us when she walked past our tables subsequently. Outrageously miserable food that comes in a hefty bill is simply not worth it!


Food: 1.5/5
Service: 2/5
Ambience: 4/5
Price: 1.5/5
Total: 9/20
544 Serangoon Rd
Singapore 218166

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