27 August, 2009

Scotts (Picnic) Beef Noodles @ Food Opera, ION Orchard Turn

Yes! The good old irresistible Scotts (Picnic) Beef Noodles is back, and can be found at B4 foodcourt - Food Opera, within ION Orchard Turn. This is the same famous stall that popularise the Beef Noodle Dry ($5.00) that comes with the thick, flavourful and yummy gravy.

Paired it with Chor Bee Hoon (Thick Vermicelli), Beef Balls, Sliced Beef, Beef Brisket and Beef Tripe and one gets a satisfying bowl of noodles.

Did HFB also mentioned that the small bowl of soup coupled with the dry version also tasted really flavoursome too! Ahhhh.... such wonderful memories.

Food: 4/5 (Flavoursome - brought back good memories)
Service: 3.5/5 (Quick service)
Ambience: 3/5 (Very crowded during weekend and peak hours)
Price: 3.5/5 (Affordable but not exactly cheap)
Total: 14/20
ION Orchard Turn
2, Orchard Turn
#B4-04N, Singapore 238801

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25 August, 2009

7atenine @ Esplanade

Described by one as his best meal in 2009, 7atenine (pronounced as “seven, eight, nine”) certainly came with much accolades among the foodies in the blogosphere.

Thus it was with high expectations that HFB decided to host a farewell lunch at this seemingly chic and elegant venue for a sublime dining experience.

Greeted by a curious looking object d’art when he walked in, HFB soon realised that it was inspired by an abstract-figured facade.

And if one was there for lunch, chances were they were in for 7atenine’s “Lunch Unlimited” offering @ $37++ per pax – where there’s no menu in sight, and diners are subjected to unlimited elements of surprises and heighten anticipation by the chef. First up, we had the Tomato and Thyme on Parmesan Biscuit – this was one of the two dishes that we did not complete. Uninspiring.

Another dish that looked better than it tasted, the pairing of Thai Asparagus Rolls with Wasabi just didn’t make the grade for HFB in this instance. The veggie was slightly tough too.

Sadly, the Homemade Ravioli with Parmesan Cheese and Ebi Bisque was flavoursome in a bad way - the cheese totally overwhelmed this dish i.e. the prawn flavoured broth waned in comparison.

To be honest, HFB certainly didn’t expect to spot the Maguro Sushi with Roe at his table. It wasn’t bad, but it certainly didn’t impressed. Perhaps the whole Japanese dish served in a western restaurant concept didn’t resonated well with him.

However, if there was any reason why HFB would be back at this establishment, the Beef Roll with Parmesan and Wild Herbs alone would sufficed as the answer. Served atop a piece of hot rock, one gets to enjoy the very bottom of the beef cooked, the middle portion medium rare, and the top raw. The play on the texture was amazing, the meat was succulent and the parmesan complemented the dish. We certainly did request for repeated servings of this dish.

The Crispy Pork Belly with Apple Puree was another brilliant dish. Nicely crisp on the exterior, the sweet and savoury combination also flourished. Marvellous!

The Jerusalem Artichoke Puree with Foam was flavourful despite its lacklustre appearance. HFB enjoyed this!

However, none can be said about the Cucumber Gazpacho with Crouton. It didn’t work well for HFB - acting as a palate cleanser, he found it too “green” for his liking.

The Caesar Salad was another one of the "ordinary" dishes that day - nothing quite wrong, yet nothing striking.

Another reorder we had was the Seared Scallops with Avocado Mousse and Red Grapefruit. The scallops were really sweet, luscious and nicely seared. HFB though craved the scallops to be bigger.

The Crab Salad Wrapped with Onion was the other dish that was left unfinished. Although in its defence, HFB had to say he enjoyed this dish pretty much. His guess was one probably need to enjoy onions to appreciate this dish. He surely did.

The Tuna Tartare with Miso Jelly was a dish of hits and misses. While he truly enjoyed the tuna, HFB felt that the miso jelly didn’t quite make the grade – its texture was chewy and the assortments of veggies within just didn’t quite gel.

Simply called the 7atenine Burger, the beef patties were really yummy and goes really well with the salsa coupled within. Only irk was that the bread was a tad oily.

One of their signatured dishes, the Udon Carbonara with Miso Scented Cream Reduction and Serrano Ham was in replacement of the beef roll, when we wanted for a third serving. Luckily for us, the Lolita of Spicc, Katharina, was gracious enough, as it was unavailable for the day’s lunch unlimited offering, to offer us a chance to savour her favourite dish. It was really a pleasant twist and in truth palatable, although HFB thought the noodles were slightly overcooked – al dente would have been much better welcomed.

Once we were done with the carbs, we signalled for the desserts to be served. The Cranberry Pastille with Chocolate Praline looked unimpressive yet it tasted oh so good. Simple yet packed a punch!

The Vanilla Mousse with Mango Ice-cream was really fruity and HFB thought it was a nice way to end the meal, along with Assorted Biscuits which went really well with our cup of coffee.

Overall, it was an out of the ordinary dining experience and although there were some misses with the dishes, there were others that makes a revisit a possibility.

Food: 3.5/5 (Several impressive dishes amid a few disappointing ones)
Service: 3.5/5 (Adequate but lack personal touch)
Ambience: 4/5 (Modern and stylish)
Price: 4/5 (Affordable for the standard of food served)
Total: 15/20
8, Raffles Ave
#01-10/12, Esplanade Mall
Singapore 039802

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14 August, 2009

Pictorial of HFB Makan Session IV - Food for Thought

Homemade Focaccia Bread with Olive Oil,
Something to kickstart the starving tummies!

Watermelon Freeze,

Soup of the Day - Tomato with Roasted Garlic,
Thought a dash of Cream would bring out the flavours better

Thyme Roast Beef Salad,
Beef and Onions makes a good combination

Chinese Chicken Caesar Salad,
Chicken was cooked "Sous Vide" style - EXCELLENT!

The "Mains" served on a long wooden board

Slow Roasted Pulled Pork Shoulder

Mama Heng Braised Pork Belly,
The fatty layer was OMG delicious!!!

The Pizzas
Gammon Ham with Roasted Tomatoes
and Smoked Duck with Mushrooms

Close up

HFB thought it was one of the better pizzas he has ever sampled.
Crust was really well-executed that day.

Old Southern Red Velvet Cake with Purple Dragonfruit Jelly,
HFB simply loved this cake

Very Chocolatie Brownie with Creamy Banana Butter
This is one of the best brownie, really chocolatie and moist!!!

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11 August, 2009

Jia Chuan Steamboat - Home-styled Nonya Steamboat

Probably riding on the hype of the popular Little Nonya TV series comes Jia Chuan Steamboat – a unique Nonya influenced Tom Yum steamboat recipe of chef, Mdm Elsie Lim. With her own brand of Peranakan-Chinese familiarity, the spice quotient of the Thai inspired broth is up with an extra serving of home-made nonya paste – made with up to 10 types of herbs and spices – for that extra punch!

For the non-fiery taste buds, one can also opt for the homemade Chicken Broth, or the Fish Broth that is slowed cooked for flavours using Flounder Fish, Ikan Bilis, and other homemade ingredients. You can even throw in Fried Red Snapper Fish Head and Fried Taco for that added fish head steamboat ‘experience’.

HFB sampled both the Tom Yum and Fish broth, and thought that the former was interesting but not awe-inspiring. Perhaps HFB was not used to it, but the broth was slightly too sweet for him, yet at the same time there existed a bitterness aftertaste from the Turmeric due to the constant boiling. The fish broth though was more familiar in taste due to the ikan bilis, and thus more welcoming and better appreciated. Highlights of the steamboat are the selection of homemade specialties such as meatballs (pork or chicken) made with Crabmeat, Prawns, Chestnut, Bamboo Shoots, etc.

But the one the really stood out was the Sotong Balls with Prawns – the sotong taste was evident and palatable.

The Pork Dumplings with Prawns also did not disappoint. It was hearty with a wholesome bite.

And what’s Chinese steamboat without pork, in the form of Pork Belly Slices. The greasy strips of fat gave the meat that added marbling texture. Succulent!

HFB was also asked to comment on the Beef Glue and Beef Ball that the establishment was trying to introduce to their menu.

While the former was essentially minced beef and nothing noteworthy, the beef balls are a shoo-in for their new menu. Chestnuts added to it also gave it an added crunch.

Another point to note include their tasty sweet chilli, reminiscent to that from Coca Steamboat. The sambal though is really spicy and not for the faint-hearted.

And do look out for their lighted signboard when you are driving into the area as the "cafe" or air-conditioned coffeeshop is easily miss.

Buddy Value Meal (2pax) is valued for $25 and comes with a choice of ONE meat (Beef, Chicken or Pork) and Steamboat Party Value Meal (3 to 5 pax) is valued at $48 and comes with a choice of TWO meat. No service charge and GST.

Disclaimer: No ratings would be given, as this is an invited taste test. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Jody & Jia Chuan Steamboat for their hospitality.

No. 16 Cactus Road
Seletar Garden, Singapore 809585

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06 August, 2009

300th Post - Let the Beautiful Journey Continues...

08 Apr 2006. Le voyage de kalos. That was the day the beautiful journey began. An idea birthed while HFB was studying in Perth during his university days. 300 posts later, the journey continues. Beautiful it is – the path taken wasn’t exactly easy. The many hours put into researching for each posts, the time spent sorting and minor-editing the photos.

Within these 3 years, critics – there were many – some anonymous, while others closer. But yet at the same time, new friendships were forged, and encouragements were many. That kept HFB going – and he cannot thank you enough. Yes you, you who are reading this right now.

300 posts later, he learnt much more about food. He met fantastic people in the industry. It drove his passion deeper. In fact, so deep he has decided to take a plunge.

What’s next, you might ask? HBF is looking at new layout perhaps – new look and feel. Perhaps even a new direction in life. Whatever it might be, HFB guarantee it will be exciting, and a change for the better.

So cheers to 300 more posts and many more culinary adventures to come! What say you?

But meanwhile, time to catch up on his backlogs. :S

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