Positioned units away from the legendary Sik Wai Sin, Ding Feng Ge is a new entrant to the food business found along the eventful stretch of Geylang Road. It is difficult to miss Ding Feng Ge with its dazzling array of red and yellow lanterns hanging outside the eatery and the loud neon signage screaming along the main road. Derived out of true blue passion for food, sisters, Angeline and Christina, discovered various lip-smacking fares during their culinary adventures and decided to unite everything under one roof and offer the best of Steamboat, Chicken Rice and Cooked Food (think Tze Char)!
Reminiscent to 7th Storey Hotel Hainan Charcoal Steamboat, the dinner was set in motion with the Hainanese Steamed Chicken ($25.00 for whole chicken, $13.00 for half chicken). HFB found it slightly overcooked, rendering its flesh a tad tasteless due to the loss of natural juices and sweetness.
Those that enjoy their steamboat dinner with a stronger, robust soup base would enjoy their option of Chicken Herbal Soup or Spicy Tom Yam flavoured broth.
Other flavours include the Mala (a combined flavour of Sichuan Peppercorn and Chili) and the newly introduced Bak Kut Teh soup base. For 2-3 pax, one can opt for the $24.00 set that HFB reckons was very value for money. With a mixture of seafood and meat along with the usual balls of different sorts and what’s not, each and every ingredient was very fresh. In fact, it was so fresh that HFB questioned whether the price was set too low for the quality served.
What’s more, HFB’s personal favourite items of Cockles and Pig’s Liver was offered in the menu as well!
But of course one could opt to change the items if they wished to, but you can surely drop that idea if you are dining with HFB – Heh! FYI, HFB finished up all the cockles that evening *smug*.
The cooked food section did well too – the signature dish of Ribs with Fermented Beancurd ($12.00/$18.00) was lip smacking delicious. It was deep fried to a crusty crunch and the layer of fats gave the dish an added luscious touch. That was definitely HFB’s favourite dish that evening!
Another nice surprise was the Crispy Seafood Beancurd ($10.00/$15.00). HFB encountered horrible tofu before, but thankfully their version wasn’t. It was firm on the exterior crust and soft on the inside. The excellent contrasting texture along with the flavoursome core was great to go with the sweet dip.
The Sambal Kang Kong ($8.00/$12.00) wasn’t too overcooked and the sambal was spicy – awesome when you eat it with plain rice (or chicken rice). The generous serving of Dried Shrimps was very much welcomed too!
One of their favourite dishes between the two sisters, the Pork Rib with Mayonnaise Sauce ($12.00/$18.00) was another well-executed dish. Nicely coated with mayo on the exterior, the meat was juicy and nicely seasoned. HFB’s only gripe was that a mayo-based dish tended to be too heavy for a meal especially when you coupled it with steamboat and chicken rice.
The Indonesian Curry Prawn Claypot ($18.00) was another iconic fare that night! In fact the gravy was so good that HFB reckoned Ding Feng Ge should fashioned a watered-down version as a soup broth offering for their steamboat set. The gravy was full-bodied and savoury yet surprising light for the palate.
It would be unwarranted if HFB mentioned he didn’t enjoyed the Stir-fried Butter Crab with Salted Egg Yolk (Market Price). The truth of the matter was he was too filled at that point in time to truly savour it. Plus by the time HFB got his hands to it, the dish had already turned cold. However, one thing he wished to underline was the crab came choke full of roe!
HFB Makan Session is back, bigger and better, and to reward HFB’s faithful readers, he has brokered a deal with the Desire @ The Scarlet (must read!) for a $69.90 nett 4-course set dinner inclusive of a complimentary pre-dinner cocktail (usually worth $15++).
The event will take place on the 6 March (Friday) and pre-dinner cocktail will kickstart at 7.00pm on the Gazebo section of Breeze restaurant (Desire's sister outlet), a nice chillout area on the roof of The Scarlet. Dinner will then proceed promptly at 7.30pm at Desire.
XOXO Vodka, orange juice, cherry syrup
Caribbean Passion Rum, Cranberry Juice and Blue Curaçao
Sous Vide Egg with spanish ham, truffle salsa and parmesan crust
Foie Gras seared foie gras served on brioche and mango, glazed with aged balsamic
Tuna & Cod tataki of tuna and cod fish with cereal crust on seasonal vegetables sautéed in mirin soyu
Grilled Beef Medallion & Beef Cheeks Beef medallion and braised beef cheeks served with ratte potato chips and grilled asparagus
Macadamia Praline Parfait with cinnamon caramelised apple
Seats are limited so email HFB your Name, Contact Number, and the No. of Pax to firstname.lastname@example.org NOW! Oh, and last minute cancellation is greatly frowned upon, so do informed me early if you cannot make it.
If you have any dietary restrictions with regards to the menu, do let HFB know in advance in your email – Desire and him will try their very best to accommodate your wishes. Closing date for the sign-up is 11.59pm 1 March(Sunday). Hope to see you there!
The distinguished Desire voted one of Wine and Dine Singapore’s Top Restaurant in 2008 is sited at The Scarlet, a charismatic boutique hotel that oozes a sense of stylish elegance.
Not without its own accolades, the hotel is crowned one of 2008 Singapore Tatler’s Best Boutique Hotels and Singapore Tourism Awards 2008 for Best Accommodation Experience under the Best Superior Hotel category.
Hidden at the side of the hotel, the restaurant’s alfresco area is one of affectionate charming ambience.
Upon seated, the restaurant further seeks to tease one’s sensory experience with its element of naughtiness by presenting a menu, 'book of Desire', full of suggestive sexual connotations – the appetiser section, for instance, is labelled ‘foreplay’ while the entrees are titled under ‘main affair’.
However, ordering ala carte was not the order of the day as Executive Chef Vincent Teng, previously from My Dining Room in Club Street, specially created a $100++ menu for each of us that evening.
The Complimentary Bread served set the right tone immediately for that evening. Between the Olive and Walnut Bread (or was it Almond?), it was a tough choice – but the service staff came to the rescue by suggesting “Why not both?” and both it was. Both bread were served warm and tasted wonderful with its own merits. Coupled with the extravagant Truffle Butter, HFB certainly didn’t look back. HFB rates this experience a tad better than Morton’s Onion Loaf.
The appetiser was Iberico Ham & Sous Vide Egg with Truffle Salsa, and the soft poached egg was only achieved through modelling after the French method of cooking using vacuum bags placed in hot water.
A dish that at first glance seemed detach between the two ingredients, one is however encouraged to fuse the dish together by breaking the egg yolk and eating it with the ham and the salsa. However, who could resist the wobbly egg yolk and HFB took a naughty nibble at it, before letting the yolk oozed all over. On its own, the Iberico ham, imported only from Spain, was velvety in texture. Coupled with the egg yolk, the harmonious combination was such a joy to consume. HFB certainly rates the ham better than the Italian's Prosciutto.
The Seared Foie Gras with Scampi on Toasted Brioche paired with Sliced Mango, Mango Coulis and Balsamic Reduction was up next. Although HFB would prefer the foie gras to be seared crustier, credits could not be taken away from the liver. One could never go wrong with the savoury and sweet combination between the foie gras and the mango coulis, but the scampi was slight over-grilled resulting in a dry and rubbery texture for the shrimp.
And if one thinks the sous vide method of cooking is only meant for eggs, then Chef Vincent seeks to prove you wrong with another dish of Sous Vide of Kurobuta Pork Belly with Crackling Skin, Braise Pork Cheeks on Fennel Salad tossed with Mustard Miso. A distinctive dish that enables one to experience two unique textural in one go – the pork belly was very well tendered being fatty but the skin was so wonderfully seared resulting in a cracking crisp with every bite, although one might frowned on the idea of paying top money for “Roast Pork” in a restaurant. If the pork belly played on texture, then the braised pork cheeks touched on taste. Not denying the truth that it was marvellous simmered till soft, it was the intense flavour, nicely captured by the meat that won HFB over – it was comparable to the Beef Cheek from Sage.
A nice surprise came with the palate cleanser of Tomato Essence. 'Revitalising' is probably the best word to describe the experience as the concoction immediately rids the tongue of any heavy aftertaste. HFB absolutely loves the refreshing tang!
The Grilled Wagyu Beef Tenderloin on Truffle Pomme Puree, Seasonal Vegetables was another delectable meat dish. With a marbling score of 5/6, it was surprisingly still very tender despite being grilled close to medium than medium rare. The Truffle Pomme Puree was another delight – the potato mash was really smooth and the tint of truffle gave it an added lift – this was another symphony of ingredients that worked really well in HFB’s opinion.
The dinner was rounded up with the Hazelnut Mille Feuille, or layers of Hazelnut Mousse, Salted Caramel and Feuilletine Crust. Although HFB felt that the hazelnut option was slightly heavy for a dessert, and would preferred something lighter on his palate, the robust hazelnut cream was something praiseworthy.
Food: 4/5 (From the complimentary bread to the dessert, there are always something positive to look forward to) Service: 4.5/5 (Service was fantastic) Ambience: 4.5/5 (Charming ambience - perfect for first dates!) Price: 3.5/5 (Reasonable consider the extravagant usage of truffles)
Situated at Hotel Rendezvous’s lobby level, this dining venue has undergone two months of intensive refurbishment and upgrading works and was reopened in 3 October.
The $1.5 million project is a complete transformation of what used to be traditional, into a modern contemporary interior. Within, random timber strips were cleverly incorporated into the design as accented walls and feature screens to add texture, shadow and depth.
Although the café’s full glass window allows for the integration of the bustling exterior and the vibrancy of the interior space. HFB however felt a slight intrusion of privacy with people peering over his shoulders while he ate, when commuters waiting along the bus stop outside sneaked a quick peek or two.
Enjoyably, the cold seafood counter – the Baby Octopus, Prawns, Mussels and Smoked Salmon, pleasantly surprised HFB. They were really fresh and scrumptious!
Request for the Salmon Belly Sashimi from the Sushi and Sashimi counter and one would also be enthralled by its silky, succulent texture.
A main feature in the dining room are the buffet counters. Showcasing two living cooking stations that offer a variety of freshly prepared and made-to-order cuisine, including oriental wok counter for Stir-fried Vegetables. HFB really loved the Mushrooms that was served that day.
The other cooking station is the Noodle Station for daily noodle of the day – it happens to be their popular and signature Nonya Laksa counter and Bak Kut Teh, or simply Pork Ribs Soup.
Unfortunately, the heightened expectations resulted in HFB noticeably unimpressed by both dishes. Their version of laksa comes with thick coconut gravy, which HFB suspects would be much welcomed by many, but HFB thought it was way too salty. A replacement bowl failed to change his opinion too.
The bak kut teh was much better received with its clearer soup base, but it seemed to leave a lingering aftertaste, which tasted like MSG, but HFB might be wrong.
The craving station offered Roast Beef for that day – although the meat leaned towards the dry side, HFB definitely enjoyed the Grilled Capers and Eggplant that was available next to the meat.
The extensive selection at the dessert counter is sure to tempt those with a sweet tooth.
Highlight of the section was definitely the ‘Durian Corner’ where Durian Cake, Durian Puff and Durian Pengat were served. The latter is definitely a must try!
9 Bras Basah Road Singapore 189559
Lunch Buffet (Daily) $35++ Noon to 2.30pm High Tea Buffet (Saturday and Sunday) $32++ 3pm to 5.30pm Please call 6335 1771 / 7 for reservations
Disclaimer: No ratings would be given, as this is an invited taste test. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Christina Tan & Straits Cafe @ Rendezvous for their generous hospitality.