24 March, 2009

Big D's Grill @ Holland Drive

A big man with a big reputation, Damian De Silva, formerly chef cum owner of Soul Kitchen at Purvis Street, relocated Big D’s Grill from Bedok South to Holland Drive. Located near the bus interchange at the same coffeeshop of the famous Fishhead Beehoon stall, chef Damian “western food stall” is well known for serving restaurant quality Black Angus Beef Steaks and Kurobuta Pork Chops, as well as his limited Peranakan Specialties e.g. Ayam Buah Keluak – think Astons, before he got his chain restaurants going, added to scale down version of Soul Kitchen.

Mr De Silva insisted on using fresh Snapper and not frozen Dory for his Beer-Battered Fish & Chips ($8.90). At that price, the serving was pretty value for money and the fish tasted fresh. One could also surely take pleasure in a hint of beer aftertaste from the exterior of the fish – seasoning was slightly uneven though with parts being overly salty. But snapper or not, there was hardly any taste to the flesh of the fish. HFB would prefer the fish meat to be lightly marinated. Homemade Chips were well fried and vastly addictive!

One of his signatured dishes, the dazzling Crabmeat Linguine ($10.90) was immensely under-priced and overly extravagant with Shredded Crabmeat. HFB would advise one to go for the spicy version, as crabmeat is pretty heavy for the palate and tanginess brings it down by a notch. The linguine was done al-dente and the ingredients harmonised perfectly – the sour from the tomato base sauce, spiciness from the chilli, and the sweetness from the crabmeat really complements each other very well. This coffeeshop adaptation triumphed convincingly against the supposedly fine-dining standard – dollar for value in HFB’s opinion. This is one dish HFB will return for it.

Weighed at least 200 grams, if not more, the US Kurabuta Pork Loin ($28.00) was something that HFB was looking forward to. Indeed seeing is believing, but tasting it truly convinced HFB that the fuss and the hearsay was spot on about how wickedly mouth-watering this piece of meat is. The glistening layer of fats gave the famed meat its luscious and moist consistency – the spurt of juicy goodness with every nibble testify to this. With the exterior charred grilled to perfection, the hint of pink in the centre also gave it a tender bite. Coupled with their homemade applesauce that is reasonably flavoursome, this dish is definitely a hearty no-no for the weak heart, but surely a treasured find for the brave!

Food: 4.5/5 (Crabmeat linguine and Kurabuta Pork Loin hits the umami spot!)
Service: 3.5/5 (A good 20-25mins wait during peak hours)
Ambience: 3/5 (You are advise to sit outdoors)
Price: 4.5/5 (Value for money)
Total: 15.5/20
Blk 46, Holland Drive
Singapore 270046

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18 March, 2009

Wordless Wednesday - Dinner @ Fish & Co. Bugis Junction

Garlic & Lemon Butter Mussels
Ocean Fresh Mussels in Creamy Garlic & Lemon Butter Sauce.

Complimentary basket of bread to mop up the sauce.
Sauce was Yummilicious!

The Best Fish & Chips in Town!
(That's the name of the dish, however it is truly one of the better ones I tried in town)
Fried, topped with Lemon Butter & served with Chips.

Seafood Platter for one
Platter of Seasonal Fish, Calamari & Prawns.

Didn't really enjoy the Grilled Calamari though.

Serving of fish was pretty pathetic.

Overall, I am however pleasantly surprised by the standard of food and the thoughtful service provided by their staffs at this outlet, which therefore deserved a mention on this blog.

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17 March, 2009

Post HFB Makan Session 3 Revealed - Desire @ The Scarlet

Chilling at the rooftop alfresco perched atop The Scarlet, Breeze would have been the perfect start to set in motion HFB Makan Session 3, if not for the fact that the sun refused to set even after 7.30pm!

Otherwise under a starlit sky, it would be the ideal setting to get off the ground drinking and bonding with a glass of complimentary cocktail that every guest was entitled for – XOXO (Vodka, Orange Juice, Cherry Syrup) or Caribbean Passion (Rum, Cranberry Juice and Blue Curaçao).

After a quick transition to the 2nd level, every guest was nicely settled down in the private area of Desire (there were 19 of us that evening).

Service was slow initially, but once choice of mains were noted, the complimentary bread rolled into action.

Onion Bread accompanied with Butter was nothing short of excellence! It came nicely warmed and a rip to the bread produced an aromatic whiff that was intense yet not overpowering. Like my previous experience, HFB was wooed even before the first serving was dished up.

HFB did a quick survey around the tables and found that most of them loved the Sous Vide Egg with Spanish Ham, Truffle Salsa and Parmesan Crust – for those that didn’t, they made the mistake of consuming the egg on its own, instead of breaking the yolk and mixing it with the truffle salsa, to act as a ‘dip’ for the ham.

Okay, the controversy of the night – Seared Foie Gras served on Brioche and Mango, Glazed with Aged Balsamic. As Steve would describe it, “the richness of the foie gras with the slippery smoothness of the mango and the crunchiness of the brioche proving the most perfect of partners.” HFB couldn’t agree more. The harmonious pairing of the ingredients worked wonders that night!

While HFB opted for the beef as main, those that sampled the Tataki of Tuna and Cod Fish with Cereal Crust on Seasonal Vegetables Sautéed in Mirin Soyu gave a few thumbs up to the cod fish. However a couple of guests were not accustomed to having tuna done tataki-styled.

Not to be outdoned, HFB’s portion of Grilled Beef Medallion & Beef Cheeks served with Ratte Potato Chips and Grilled Asparagus was similarly noteworthy. Using Wagyu Beef with a Marbling Score of 5/6, the beef medallion was a winner for HFB – it was medium-rare tendered and fully flavoured. However HFB didn’t take too much to the beef cheeks that were braised with Orange Juice. It was a slight reminiscent to the cough mixture we had as kids. High marks though to the texture, as it was well braised to tender.

Although some would prefer a stronger finish to the dinner, HFB thought the Macadamia Praline Parfait with Cinnamon Caramelised Apple was magnificently executed.

It wasn’t too sweet and HFB absolutely fell in love with the bottom layer of biscuit crust. Plus the sweet vs. sour along with soft vs. crunchy combination was exceptionally well balanced.

Thank you to all the babes and hunks that attended that evening (I know I missed out some of you below, sorry!). You guys played a HUGE part in making this HFB makan session a wonderful experience!

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13 March, 2009

HFB's Top 3 Favourite Pizzas @ Da Paolo's

Below are HFB's Top 3 Favourite Pizzas @ Da Paolo's Pizza Bar. What about you? Where do you usually get your pizzas from? And what do you usually order?

Pizza with Mushroom with Black Truffles

Pizza with Arugula, Parma Ham and Shaved Parmesan

Smoked Salmon Pizza

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07 March, 2009

Chen Fu Ji - The Lengendary Crab Meat Fried Rice

"How can one make friends without exquisite dishes! It is mainly through the table that one governs!"

Jean-Jacques Regis de Cambaceres
French politician (1713-1824)

Although HFB might not totally agree with the statement above, he definitely agrees that good food gathers people from all walks of life. And it is through this food blog that he met many amazing people along the way. And thanks to Steve, a loyal visitor of HFB, who had travelled half a world to meet up with him, HFB had the opportunity to dine and wine at Chen Fu Ji Sing’s Sensation, nested at the 2nd level of Riverside Point. For those who yet know, two sisters founded Chen Fu Ji 50 years ago and were dishing out their signatured $25.00 Fried Rice that came with Crab Meat in the 80s!! So it was with much expectancy when HFB arrived at the restuarant.

The complimentary Cod Fish snack was nothing fanciful – but it did keep HFB’s hands and mouth busy. It was pretty addictive.

The Seafood Doufu in Hot Plate ($18.00) came sizzling hot and rather generous with ingredients. However, with the sauce being rather starchy and salty on its own, a bowl of steam rice to complement it would be an ideal choice. Wow factor was sorely lacking though – HFB had tried many better ones elsewhere.

The Braised Japanese Shiitake with Seasonal Vegetables ($24.00 for medium serving) was much welcomed with its thick and juicy mushrooms. Vegetables were fresh and crunchy.

What’s a trip to Chen Fu Ji without sampling the legendary Imperial Fried Rice ($25.00 for medium serving)? Each grain of rice, believed to be selected for its size, texture and moisture content, was also said to be conditioned prior to frying. Nevertheless, what really distinct itself from the normal fried rice was the fusing of beaten eggs with each grain of rice that gave it a smooth texture, golden hue and aromatic fragrance. With a stack of freshly peeled Crab Meat and unique Egg Floss, the dish came with heighten expectations. It was good all right, with the non-greasy aftertaste and aromatic egg flavour, but it wasn’t great. There was a distinct lacked of ‘Wok Hei’ flavour that HFB would preferred in his fried rice though. Also the serving portion was only sufficient for a small bowl each.

Surprisingly, the best dish that night was the Peking Roast Duck ($35.00 for half portion). The roasted duck skin was deftly curved into thin slices and it was crunchy and full of taste.

The thick juicy duck meat, accompanied with condiments like scallions and cucumber, along with a coat of Hoisin Sauce wrapped with Chinese Pancake was also delightful.

Food: 3.5/5 (Above average - but didn't wow)
Service: 4/5 (Pretty attentive and accomodating)
Ambience: 3.5/5 (Nothing great to shout about)
Price: 3/5 (Food didn't really justify the price tag)
Total: 14/20
30 Merchant Road
#02-31, Riverside Point
Singapore 058282

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05 March, 2009

Wordless Wednesday - Lunch @ Wild Rocket II

Department Lunch @ Wild Rocket @ Mt Emily

Centrepiece - Bird of Paradise

Complimentary Bread with Olive Oil Dip

Starter - Carrot Soup
the Olive Oil makes a difference

Main - Wild Mushroom Linguine
done Al Dente, the Cream Sauce was a delight!

Dessert - Ice Cream with Gula Melaka
a tad too sweet for me

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