Tuesday, January 27, 2009

222. Samy's Curry

It was my first time to visit the recently so much raved area, Dempsey and the first stop was Samy's Curry. Seated up on the 'hill', I was pretty amused by the two mastercard logos on their signboard. Hmm.....Samy's Curry and Mastercard's advertisement, don't that ring a bell? Richard Gere in India and Samy's Curry's an Indian cuisine! Woot!

I liked the corridor. It gave a feel of the old kopitiam feel, especially with the hanging ceiling fans.
There was no menu, just a display of the dishes like what we would see at the economic rice stalls. And sit anywhere you like, just like in a coffeeshop....except it was at Dempsey area. I thought it was very 'leafy' of the waiters to dress in green. They looked like some Ecogreen supporters.
Big banana leaves and.......
plop*....a big scoop of rice served. You can have as much rice as you wished when the waiter comes with his basin of rice. A choice of briyani or plain rice. The above was a result of not paying attention to the waiter. ( >.<"' ) Never waste food. Then....the waiter came with his pail of curry to drizzle over your plain rice.
Crackers to complement.....
The yellowish, gluey side dish was a corn puree and then the dry curry potatoes. These two was served as side dishes to the rice. I thought the corn puree was rather gross. Sweet puree with rice was rather yucky for me to accept. The potatoes was more favourable. A little spicy though. It cost $2.20
Tandoori Chicken @ $4.20. I wondered why Indians have their fried chicken coloured red. It was due to the spices. Cayenne, red chili powder, or other spices give the typical red color. It was just half of a mini chicken. It wasn't those crispy on the exterior type but I would say it was well-flavoured, thanks to the spices.
Mixed vegetables @$6. It wasn't spicy, in fact, it was with a hint of sweetness, most probably due to the carrots. It wasn't served warm and it tasted like some leftover food. I was further nauseated by the joke that it was a mixture of what other diners have left uneaten. It looked so goggy, nobody would know if the joke had been real.
Mutton curry @$7. Average. Nil wow. The gravy was also just mediocre, a dispensable dish.

Fish Head Curry @$17 (small). Their signature dish. Apparently, it should not have fared any worse since almost every table has one. Even though there were only 3 of us, I decided that the fish head curry is a must-try since we were there. I felt the fish was slightly overcooked. The fish meat was slightly rough. Anyway, I don't expect to have exceptionally fresh fish; the fish meat would have been delicate. If you asked me, I would say the curry lacked something. Could have added some pineapple slices to give the sour punch. So, it wasn't a woo la la dish for me.
Fish Begedel @$1.60. Usually the begedel I had was made of potato but not this one. It was made of small shrimps and fish if I'm not wrong. Of course, with the tumeric and other spices to give its yellow-orange colour. The texture was a bit like eating pork floss, but it was a drier version.

Cheese naan @$2.80. I felt it was the lauded item. The cheese wasn't too strong, just a hint. I felt it was nice. Fluffy and not oily. Eat it hot and geez.....I gave up my prata for it.
Total bill worked out to be $61.20 (with GST) for 3 pax with 3 glasses of lime juice, unpictured. I thought it was slightly overpriced for the quantity and quality of food we had. The taste was decent though.

Samy's Curry
Blk 25 Dempsey Road
Tel: 64722080

221. Por Kee Eating House

It was a surprise that this restaurant which I have been patronising since young opened for business even on lunar day. Most of the restaurants were closed but man, let me tell you, Por Kee was fully booked for that 2.5 hours of lunch hour. We were lucky to have had arrived first, else we would need to wait for some time for the chef to cook our food with the number of tables waiting.
Por Kee came up with a new menu specially for the Chinese lunar new year. Even the menu was wholly red. So much for contributing to the festive mood!
We opted for the 5-6 set menu. All the dishes were named symbolically. Another plus point, all GST and tea were inclusive of the price stated.
Naturally, the first dish served was 'yu sheng'. A must have during Chinese New Year. 'Yu Sheng', in cantonese, means raw fish. Here, raw fish was added to the mixture of red and white radish, ginger, candied orange skin, coconut shreds etc.
Though the crackers weren't the main character, I think it was the most-sought-after ingredients, especially for children, who eats nothing but this. The crispy bits added crunch to the dish.
Everyone, pick up your chopsticks ! And....here we 'loh'.....The action we performed as we mixed the ingredients is called 'loh hei' ('loh hei' in cantonese means to pick up). So, as we picked up and mixed the ingredients, we said auspicious words and blessings to wish ourselves a better year ahead.
The cold platter which consisted of only 3 kinds. The marinated baby octopus, fried seafood roll and Por Kee's signature dish, champagne ribs. I felt it was a rather unappealing cold platter. Then again, as we only had 6 pax at the table, 3 seemed feasible, considering the number of dishes down the list. The Shark Fins. It is not a must for me to have shark fins on New Year. Frankly speaking, I supposed only the Cantonese are more particular on having this at their dinner table at home. I have seldom seen mothers preparing shark fins at home. And I guess it is not easy to prepare shark fins too. Of all the superior delicacies, to name a few, bird nest, abalone, lobster and etc. Shark fins falls at the bottom of my list. I'm not really good at appreciating shark fins. Neither am I a lobbyist of protect the sharks association.
Next was the steamed talipia. We had the thai style. It was placed on this warmer and as the lemongrass soup base boiled, the chili fragrance was more evident and it was more shiok! Having fish on the new year to symbolize years of abundance.
The talipia wasn't an expensive fish. In fact, it was quite cheap. It would have been a waste to use soon hock fish for thai style because the delicate fish meat would have melted sooner than you would have them in your mouth. The thai style steamed fish is also one of Por Kee's signature dish. It is not a surprise to see one on every table if you were to frequent Por Kee.

Gong Xi Fatt Choy. The choy meant vegetables in cantonese. In this dish, the black haired-like moss is called fatt choy. Though it looked disgusting, I think it has a nice texture. Smooth and silky. "Sounds like the hair shampoo advertisement, har?" Sea cucumber was once considered a superior delicacy. However, I think as years passed, it is not as 'chi chi' as it used to be. (chi chi means expensive) Often, we see it on the dining table and not just on festive days. Very affordable. Unlike abalone and shark fins. Draped in oyster sauce, this dish was delicious.

Braised ee-fu noodles. When it was served, the first thought I had was, this is not going to taste good. Indeed, I was proven right when I had my first mouth. The colour wasn't appealing. It was like a plop of overcooked noodles. And...all brown in colour. I thought the chef should have at least added in some greens or cut chilis to garnish to make it more appealing but he didn't.
The prawns was delicious. So big and juicy. Despite the fact that it was reared prawns, it was fresh and finger licking good. Drowned in rice wine, the amount of alcohol content wasn't too much. The prawn was tangy and big.

Last was the dessert, almond pudding and longan. I would say this is the classic dessert. It is so easy to make. What more can I say?

The set costs $298. Frankly speaking, it would be expensive to eat out on festive days. I think it was slightly expensive for the food that was included in this set menu was quite mediocre only. Also, I think Por Kee had a change of chefs, the taste of the food seemed to have changed. I think it was much better last time. Nevertheless, their business is still as brisk as before. Loyal customers, I would say.

See previous entry
Por Kee Eating House 1996
Blk 69 #01-02
Seng Poh Lane
Singapore 160069
Tel: 62210582

Saturday, January 24, 2009

220. Dynnie Cake House

Apple Cinnamon Pie whole. It was a gift. The crust was of the desirable thickness and not too buttery in taste. Apple fillings was generous and the cinnamon amount wasn't overwhelming. Addition of raisins added to the texture. I had it chilled and it was 'marvellicious'. I can't imagine how it would have been when it first came out from the oven. Must have been so 'wo la la'.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

219. Atlantis Seafood Village

This Kranji Farm Resort opened with a big bang in Nov last year, inviting Taiwan celebrity host, Jacky Wu, to grace its opening. Its opening made the deserted Kranji area packed with people. There was quite a crowd when I visited it just a moment ago. Some were having BBQ.

The restaurant, Atlantis Seafood Village has a open-concept kitchen. The place was very big. Tables were placed under the pitched up tents. In the background, music was heard from the ktv lounge a short distance away.

A wide range of seafood to choose from.

Braised peanuts

La La

The first dish we have ordered but it was taken back. The first taste was delicious. If you have noticed, only a few of the shells were opened. If the la la-s were cooked, the shells would have open. We thought they weren't thoroughly cooked so we asked for them to be cooked again. The waitress returned with apologies. The dish was cancelled because the la la weren't fresh. Supposedly the shells wouldn't open even after being cooked the second time round.

Cream Sauce Pan-Fried Lobster @$53.40

We got a lobster which weighed 600g. It was quite small though. The cream sauce was just so-so. I think they added too much thyme if that was thyme they have added. The lobster has a weird taste. Not the fresh taste but rather of those frozen meat. Overall, it wasn't palatable.

Chinese Spinach @$15

This chinese spinach came adorned in red gravy. Red extract from the spinach. It was the first time I have seen spinach cooked with salted egg yolk and century egg. Frankly speaking, the 2 eggs didn't add any special taste to the dish. I didn't really like this dish. The more I ate, the more I felt sick with the thought of the gluey century egg mixed with the spinach.

Pork Ribs @$20

It was well-marinated but not thoroughly cooked. I personally felt the meat they have chosen was a tad too fat. The proportion of fat was more than the lean meat. And this resulted in the pork ribs to be slightly oily which oozed out from the fats.

Crispy Fried Beancurd with Pork Floss @$18

I felt this was just mediocre. The beancurd wasn't the softest nor the silkest I ever have had. The beancurd wasn't very crispy on its exterior. The pork floss was rather tasteless and was dispensable.
Scallop with Satay Paste @$30
We had the la la replaced with this dish. Actually it wasn't satay paste that I have tasted of. It was more of the "sha cha" paste, a Chinese condiment favoured by the Taiwanese. It has a savoury and slight spicy taste. This dish didn't wow me either.

Our bill worked out to be $162 for 5 pax. I felt it was slightly expensive and not worthwhile for the taste was just so-so and the location was pretty out of the place if you do not own your own transport. I think they do provide free transportation from one of the nearest MRT stations during the weekends. The main attraction would be the environment. I felt it was very relaxing, like being at the outskirts of a town.
Atlantis Seafood Village
10 Neo Tiew Lane 2
Singapore 718813

Saturday, January 10, 2009

218. Timbre @The Substation

I finally got to this place after going a few rounds at Stamford Road. Timbre is located directly opposite the Singapore Management University (SMU) city campus and within the rapidly developing arts belt and museum circuit. If you drive, like me, then you have better get the directions right. Outside Timbre is a public car park, free parking after 5pm. However, limited lots, so be prepared to wait. I brought along my DSLR, only to find out that I have forgotten to slot back my SD card. What a muddle-head I am! Luckily, I got a back-up digicam in my bag but it couldn't work well in the night. The pictures were poorly shot.

Slick extended platform bar if you just want to have a drink. I liked the filled-up with bottles cabinet. So balinese, I thought.
Temporary set-up tents and with teak hued furnishings, we enjoyed our dinner under the foliage. Its al fresco setting amidst the hustle and bustle of town allows one to gaze at the night sky in quiet contemplation - an isle of calm amidst a busy city. It was a refreshing night with the wind caressing on my skin.

Calamari Rings @$11

The calamaris were overcooked. The exterior wasn't crispy. It was hard to chew and I would like to compare it to stubborn rubber, not that I have eaten stubborn rubber but just not the right texture.

Stuffed mushrooms @$8
Water was not strained off from the mushrooms. Stuffings dropped off before I could eat it and the mushroom alone was pretty tasteless. Excess liquid (water) oozed out and I felt it was quite gross.

Strawberry Margarita @$11

Lime Virgin Margarita @$11

Baby Back Ribs @$18

Waited at least 40 mins for it and it didn't arrive appealing. It wasn't hot. The ribs were not well-marinated and the meat was not tender enough. Rosemary leaves could have been chopped to enhance its flavour. The mashed potato had too much black pepper in it and it was like having black pepper mashed potato. I felt this was the worst pork ribs I had.

Didn't have the sausages. Comments reserved.

Buffalo Chicken Pizza

Paper pizza. I wouldn't have said it was a thin crust pizza when the crust was as 'thick' as paper. I felt the chicken chunks were too big for the paper pizza. Chicken shreds would have been better. It was not oily nor was it very full-flavoured. I felt it was because not many ingredients were added. This paper pizza lacked the wow.

Cheese Pizza....complimentary. Not sure why it was complimentary. My friend said it was because we have spent a certain amount for the night and thus the complimentary pizza.

Didn't keep the receipt and I couldn't remember what were the cost for some of the dishes. Also, I didn't take the pictures of the other dishes. Overall, I felt the food at Timbre wasn't really great. Price was affordable. Environment and entertainment were the main lure.
Service was quite bad. The waitresses were too eager to clear our plates and glasses. We wanted to watch the band performance but the waitress brought the bill to us when we didn't even ask for it. And she didn't hand it politely to us. She threw the bill on the table and proceeded to the next table with the bills. We paid for the bill anyway and continue to sit at the table but the waitresses kept coming to us for additional food orders. They were chasing us. I felt it was quite not right to do so. Rather disturbing.
It is recommended to make reservations or else time would have to be spent on queuing.

The Substation
45 Armenian Street
Tel: 63388277


Operational hours - Monday to Thursday
Sundays - 6pm to 1am, Friday and Saturday 6pm-2.30am.