27 March, 2012

Si Chuan Dou Hua @ Kitchener Road - Roast Suckling Pig Feast

The Si Chuan Dou Hua group, designed to add value to ParkRoyal group of hotels, is renowned for the quality and authentic Sichuan and Cantonese dishes.

Si Chuan Dou Hua

Si Chuan Dou Hua (17)

Besides that, another unique aspect of dining there is the presence of their well-known art of traditional tea-pouring.

Si Chuan Dou Hua (2)

And if that is not enough to entice you, surely a Roast Suckling Pig Feast would! Only at their Kitchener Road outlet, from now till 30 April 2012, one can gather their family and friends for a hearty 8 course set menu priced at $258++ (Half Pig) and $428++ (Whole Pig) for 6 persons and 10 persons respectively for lunch or dinner. (Note: For those who wish to take home a whole roast suckling pig, you can also do so at $168+ that comes packaged in an attractive takeaway box). And what's more, UOB credit card holders are entitled to 20% off set menus and the roast suckling pig for takeaway.

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Under the close supervision of veteran BBQ Chef Zheng Guang Liang and Executive Cantonese Chef Leung Wing Chung, the culinary journey began with a whole Roast Suckling Pig that was meticulously and deftly sliced up by Chef Zheng.

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The crackling of the skin was awesome and definitely one of the better suckling pigs that HFB had came across (definitely beats having the Tiong Bahru roast pig that was delivered to a Christmas party HFB had, hands down)!

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While the rest of the kitchen worked on presenting the roast suckling pig in three other styles, HFB was meanwhile treated to a nutritious Cantonese soup of Double-boiled Kampung Chicken with Conpoy and Superior Chinese Herbs as the second dish. Looks can be deceiving and this could aptly be applied to this dish. Looked simple and ordinary, the clear broth was delectable, full-bodied in flavours and packed with rich essence of yummy goodness. HFB definitely enjoyed the soup.

Si Chuan Dou Hua (9)

HFB was looking forward to the Steamed “Bading”, or Patin Fish in Cantonese “Shun De” style, a branch of Cantonese cuisine from Guangzhou. High marks in creativity, where the fish was steamed along with parts of the tasty roast suckling pig – the chefs really fully utilised the pig.

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However, HFB was left a little disappointed – perhaps due to the sheer size of the fish which he estimated to be a kilogram, if not more. The meat was leaning slightly towards the tough side. That being said, HFB truly took pleasure in the gravy that went along with the fish.

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Truth to be told, HFB was a little surprise that the Deep-fried Fresh Prawns with Cereal made it into the menu – and the only good reason HFB could think of was, it is a local favourite.

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Not saying that the dish was bad, in fact, it was pretty respectable, but HFB just thought it was such a waste to deep-fried perfectly fresh prawns. Give me steamed fresh prawns (with garlic perhaps) anytime!

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HFB considered the Braised Homemade Bean Curd with Spinach and Assorted Mushroom another crowd pleaser by Si Chuan Dou Hua, and wished they would have been a little more adventurous IMHO.

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A “safe” option that wouldn’t go awfully wrong, the bean curd was smooth and silky by many standards, even if HFB wasn’t exactly wow over.

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A Sichuan dish that employed the use of the fiery spicy peppercorn, HFB thought the Sautéed Diced Pork with Minced Garlic and Spicy Sauce was a brilliant dish in more ways than one. The meat was aromatically spiced and really robust in flavours, and HFB could really taste the “wok hei”, or the use of high-heat from the Chinese wok in this dish. What’s more, the crusty texture of the pork was an instant gratification to savour. Magnificent!

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How’s a hearty Congee with Peanut, Dried Oyster and Dried Vegetables in Supreme Stock slowly simmered with the bones of the roast suckling pig sounds like? Another dish in the menu that HFB was clamouring for, it was a comforting end to round off the dinner, except that HFB felt it was a little too heavy on the palate as a last dish before the dessert – he didn’t finish his serving.

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And if like HFB, you are wondering whether Si Chuan Dou Hua indeed serves Dou Hua, or soy bean curd for their dessert, the answer is a resounding YES! In fact, it is the restaurant signature dessert, and the Homemade Fine Bean Curd with Wolfberry definitely kicked Lao Ban cold-bean-curd-oh-so-fake-jelly’s butt. This is the REAL DEAL with its silky-smooth melt-in-your-mouth texture that truly demonstrated culinary art at its finest – not one determined by gelatine sheet for its pudding-like texture. HFB also like that it is not too sweet with its sugar syrup.

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Disclaimer: No ratings would be given, as this is an invited media tasting. HFB would also like to take this opportunity to thank Joyce and Pamela of Si Chuan Dou Hua for their hospitality.

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15 March, 2012

Saveur @ East Coast Road - A Pictorial

Angel Hair Pasta topped with Kombu and Sakura Ebi


Foie Gras w Stewed Lentils

Saveur (2)

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05 March, 2012

Extra Virgin Pizza @ Asia Square

The Lo and Behold Group, the folks behind chic establishments such as Loof, The White Rabbit, OverEasy, A Curious Teepee and Tanjong Beach Club, has introduced their most casual F&B concept to date – the Extra Virgin Pizza, a contemporary pizzeria serving artisanal, hand-crafted pizza, located in the heart of CBD, at the ground floor of Tower One at Asia Square.

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And if you are wondering how serious they are with their craft, Extra Virgin’s pizzas are hand-made and baked to order, and uses Italian double-zero flour (In Italy, flour is classified either as 1, 0, or 00, and refers to how finely ground the flour is and 00 being the most highly refined), California organic Saporito tomatoes and imported cheeses and toppings.

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And sitting behind the pizza line sits the star attraction of the space – two large Woodstone® pizza ovens clad in a mosaic of the Extra Virgin logo – the exact same ovens that are used by Chef Mario Batali at Pizzeria Mozza, Marina Bay Sands!!

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Lunch got going with the house-made soda of Strawberry Basil ($6.00). This was really light and refreshing, and set the right mood for what’s coming ahead.

Extra Virgin Pizza

For starters, the Oven-fired Clams ($18.00) were lightly flavoured with white wine, garlic and butter, and HFB was charmed by the satisfying wine aroma within. It helped that the cooking method retains heat, making this starter an enjoyable dish.

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HFB definitely enjoyed the Veal & Ricotta Meatballs ($15.00). Made fresh in-house, and topped with Tomato Sauce, Provolone Cheese and Basil, the meatballs were really hearty and almost divine, well, if not for the sauce that was a tad sour for HFB. But even then, it was really flavourful and HFB really took pleasure in it.

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If you are a fan of mushrooms, one would definitely wish to indulge in Extra Virgin’s Mushroom Bianco ($22.00). Using béchamel as a base sauce and topped with Mozzarella and Fontina Cheese, along with Roasted Mushrooms and Caramelised Onions, HFB also caught a whiff of Truffle Oil!!! The mushrooms were cooked juicy and the caramelised onions were distinct winner! How awesome was that?!?!

Extra Virgin Pizza (4)

And if you find a béchamel-based pizza not unique enough, why not give Extra Virgin’s Pistachio ($24.00) pizza a try? Using Pistachio Pesto as a base and topped generously with Mozzarella and Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese with heaps of Baby Arugula and Lemon Vinaigrette, this is truly only one of its kinds that HFB had came across so far. Each slice came with nutty goodness of the pistachio nuts that also provided that added texture and crunch. What’s more the lemon vinaigrette paired really well with the subtle bitterness of the arugula and brought the whole pizza neatly together. Brilliant!

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And to finish it off, you definitely need to order the Lobster Tails with Hazelnut Filling ($3.00 each, min. 2 orders) as the dessert. A crisp and flaky pastry, the hazelnut filling was tasty and the outer layer was undeniably CRUSTY. Simply Remarkable!

Extra Virgin Pizza (10)

Disclaimer: No ratings would be given, as this is an invited media tasting. HFB would also like to take this opportunity to thank The Lo and Behold Group for their hospitality.

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