Sunday, July 26, 2009

303. Ah Yat Seafood Restaurant III

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A group of us entered the partition room at Ah-Yat. They named the room, Shanghai. Not a thing in the room was of symbolic significance to Shanghai. Beijing and KL?? as its "neighbours".

"Night Shanghai" relived with singing that should have gone behind closed bathroom doors. >.< IMG_9522-1 (Small)
Stir-fried lobster with scallions

If you go Ah-Yat, you should really order their seafood. I think they are really worth the money. I would not say they are of the best quality but they fulfilled typical Singaporeans' criteria - "cheap and fresh". Cooked in a lenient Sze Chuan style, the lobster pieces were snapped up where the fastest fingers was rewarded with the biggest piece of palatable meat.

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Spinach with garlic
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Salad Prawns
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Roasted Chicken

I have always used Boon Lay Raja's roasted chicken as a benchmark because I felt they have the best roasted chicken. Surprisingly, today's roasted chicken came close to be on par with Boon Lay Raja's. Juicy and tender. Most probably they made the chicken exercise when we placed our reservation 2 weeks ago.
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Bamboo Clams with Garlic
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Steamed Fish
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Chili Crabs

These 2 guys had a hidden plot!

Singaporeans' favourite! They have already won a quarter of the battle in seducing us. They put on a weak front at first. The spiciness was mild, so you gradually fall deeper into their trap and reached for the second serving. Ah Haa! You had it! They are subtle liars. Wily crabs! They planted spicy bombs and you realised the area where the bombs effected got bigger. They won half the battle.
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Scallops with Greens
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Lotus Glutinous Rice

I would rate this dish the lowest. It was dry and not fragrant enough.
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Pan-fried Red Bean Pastry

We had 2 servings. The flaky hot pastry was topped with sesame seeds and filled with red bean paste. It was very delicious. Red bean paste was made to the right sweetness.

$612 was deducted off my bank account for a meal of 11 pax. Given private space and karaoke, I would say this meal was very reasonably priced. Contacted the manager to arrange for this menu so I have no idea how much each dish cost. Considering the food that we had, I felt it was worth the money.

The partition room was built in a way that there was just enough room for walking to your seats. Not so comfortable, I thought. Service was not thoughtful enough. We called for the dishes and suddenly it was like everything was on a fast mode. 5 to 6 dishes appeared one after one at once and we were like competing with the chefs. Our plates were all filled with bones and shells but the waitress did not change our plates. I was for a moment the waitress, distributing the new plates to the people.

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Monday, July 20, 2009

302. Guan Hoe Soon Restaurant

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Pickles - Cucumber, chicken gizzards, chili and onions. It was like a cold dish. The cucumber cubes were crunchy. They were not marinated. Mixed together with the chili sauce and onions, the taste was spicy and there was mild sourness, probably lime juice was added. Very appetizing.
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Sayor Lodeh @$12
Curry vegetables, we called it as. Just like our Malay food, lontong, without the ketupak. It was delicious. Not too spicy and the vegetables were boiled till soft.
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Hainanese Pork Chop @$12
I was surprised to see Hainanese Pork Chop on the menu because Guan Hoe Soon(GHS) is known for their Peranakan cuisine. The Hainanese Pork Chop which I have had eaten were usually served without gravy but GHS's had them cooked in tomato gravy. There were even fries in it! Even though the pork chop was soaked in the tomato gravy, I could taste the pork chop was quite well-marinated. I believed it will taste good even on its own.
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Otak-Otak @$12
I personally felt GHS's otak lacked in taste. It was quite bland. But there were fleshy fish meat mixed in the otak and probably because of this, their otak was slightly harder than others.

It cost about $51 for 4 pax. Food was decent but I felt they were slightly overpriced. One thing I noticed was the dishes we had were not very oily, especially the sayor lodeh. Not too sure if this standard of cooking was maintained for the rest of the dishes. GHS has started since 1953 so I believed that they have already attracted a group of regular patrons. How authentic their peranakan cuisine is compared to others like Kim Choo, I believed it's subjected to each's perspective.

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Guan Hoe Soon Restaurant
214 Joo Chiat Road
Tel: 6344 2761

Sunday, July 19, 2009

301. Pondok Jawa Timur

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Dining out on the weekends is always a hassle. There are queues everywhere, even the M fastfood chain is full house. Well, it is not necessary that people would go for better food on weekends. A set meal of fastfood can be a satisfying meal too. Anyway, a few of us decided to walk out of Plaza Singapura(PS) after crossing out the food restaurants that were in PS. We decided to go for the Indonesian cuisine at the Atrium. There were flyers on their menu stand which comes with a 10% off coupon. Luckily, there wasn't any queue.
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Cendol @$4

A traditional dessert from Indonesia. Cendol has become a quintessential part of cuisine among Singaporeans, Malaysians and the other nearby South East Asia populations. We could easily find them in the dessert stalls at hawker centres. But, we have more ingredients like red beans, atap seeds and etc. The green starch noodles were most probably the reason why I ordered cendol. I felt the taste of Indonesian cuisine is always tagged with the word 'very'. Very sweet, very spicy and food is always very coconut-ty. Coconut milk and chili are almost like the primary ingredients in Indonesian cuisine. Cendol consisted of coconut milk and palm sugar syrup. Too sweet. So, I waited for the shaved ice to melt before drinking it.
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Avocado Juice @$5

It's the first time I saw avocado juice served with palm sugar syrup. It gave me the impression that it's going to be very sweet.

"It was not sweet but it was thick" , he said.

Avocado juice at $5 was considered cheap. Getting an avocado fruit would have already cost $1.50. I still remembered the glass of overpriced avocado juice I had which cost $10.
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Javanese Iced Tea @$3

Sometimes having named the drink from the country may not necessary means that the drink is special in anyway.

"It was just like teh bing" , she said.
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Ayam Penyet @$6.90

Another classic Indonesian dish. It was big on the flyer but shrunk in size on our table. We had 2 servings. Served with a triangular-sized tau-kwa, a square cut of tempeh (fermented soybean cake) and chili sauce. Basically in the dishes we have ordered, I realised there were just 2 types of chili. One which had been cooked and the other uncooked. I personally felt chili sauce is a must-have for ayam (chicken) penyet, else it would be like something is lacking. The cooked chili sauce was used for ayam penyet. The ayam was a tad dry.
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Sop Buntut (oxtail soup) @$8.90

The uncooked chili sauce for sip buntut. The pieces of oxtail were cooked till soft and they were delicious. The clear soup was slightly salty.
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Tahu Telor @$8.90

Tahu (tofu) was cut into small cubes. I was surprised to see potato cubes in the dish. The thick peanut sauce on top was sweet. It was delicious to eat with the chili. IMG_9320-1 (Small)
Gado-Gado @$7.90

The Indonesian salad. Comprised of vegetables like cabbage, lettuce, bean sprouts, hardboiled egg, rice ketupak cut into small cubes and peanut sauce as the dressing. I didn't like the gado-gado because the peanut sauce had a smoked taste.

The bill was about $59 for 4 pax. Food was just mediocre and service was relatively slow. We had 2 cendols on our order. One came at the start of our meal and the other arrived as the last after our reminder. 10% discount was automatically printed on the bill when we asked for the bill.

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Pondok Jawa Timur
The Atrium Orchard
(next to PS)
Tower 2 #01-16
Singapore 238891
Tel: 6884 5853

Saturday, July 18, 2009

300. Minds Cafe

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What do people do on the weekends other than shopping? Minds Cafe? I think the games at Minds Cafe do not appeal to only the adolescents but even mummy(s)-to-be. I can't imagine what if they got too excited and their waterbag burst.

A few of us gathered at the branch at Prinsep street on Saturday for their WOW! promotion which comes with free-flow drink at $8.90 per pax. With every 4 pax comes a free bowl of premium munchies and snacker (we had potato chips). Add on a main course for just $6 which I felt was very worth. Well, a main course for $6, what more could you expect?

We played 3 games - Ticket to Ride, Citadels and XXX (a memory game, forgotten the name) and I felt "Ticket to Ride" was the better-to-play game among the 3.
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Premium munchies-Calamari
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Beef Lasagna
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Fish & Chips
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Black Pepper Pasta
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Chicken Platter

Thursday, July 16, 2009

299. Homemade Yam Cake

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Mum likes to make kuehs and cakes whenever she is free. Ang ku kuehs, steamed egg cakes, durian kuehs bla bla bla. All because making them yourself is cleaner and with the efforts put in, even if they are not on par with those sold outside, they are still tasty.

Mum commented on her yam cake. She praised it. I felt she had her yam cubes cut in a size a tad too big and as a result, I felt they made the yam cake slightly dry. She added so many ingredients like mushrooms, hay-bee (dried shrimps), minced pork and etc and I questioned if that was a yam cake i'm eating.

Mum said making yam cake was easy.
1 packet of rice flour
2 tbsp of tapioca flour
1 yam (about 400g), cut into small cubes
2 tbsp of cooking oil/shallot oil
1 tbsp of sugar
salt and pepper to taste
Your own preference: minced pork, Chinese mushrooms, dried shrimps. Some like to add Chinese sausage (lap-chiong).
Spring Onions
Fried Shallots
Stir fry the ingredients such as the dried shrimps, Chinese mushrooms, minced pork with shallots. Prepare extra serving of fried shallots for mixing into the yam mixture and for garnish. This is to increase the fragrance. Do not pour away the oil used for frying shallot, it can be added into the mixture in place of the untouched cooking oil.
Steam half of amount of the yam and mashed it. The other half of the yam will be added to the mixture unmashed. Add hot water to the rice flour to get a thick batter (Alternative is to put the mixture over low heat, with continuous stirring). Add the steamed yam into the batter. Mix well. Add the rest of the ingredients- the fried ingredients, yam cubes, fried shallots and seasoning. Steam for about 45 mins to 1 hour. Garnish with chopped chili, fried shallot and spring onions.

If you're a yam cake lover, why not try making it yourself?

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

298. Lim Seng Lee (South Buona Vista) Duck Rice

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Lim Seng Lee duck rice is more known as South Buona Vista duck rice because there is only one famous duck rice at South Buona Vista road. The so much raved duck rice is very easy to spot for the crowd never ceased. Ask your mum and pop and they will know that is the "gao chap gao wan"(in Hokkien - 99 loops) duck rice you are referring to. I have absolutely no doubts with the word "famous" on their signboard because it is indeed very famous.

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"Ai mai spare parts?", the lady asked in Hokkien if we wanted spare parts. "Spare parts?" I was thrown into question marks land. My lunch companion then explained to me that the spare parts meant the other parts of the duck like the gizzards, wings, webs and etc.
Boneless duck. The braised duck laid flat on the plate. Having rid of their bones, they looked like a cooked duck ramped over by heavy wheels.
But Hey! love me tender, love me sweet....the duck meat was soft and the sweet gravy complemented them so well. The difference which I have noticed for Lim Seng Lee's with the other duck rice stalls was the moisture in the duck meat was not lost.
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Together with kang kong, tofu, 2 bowls of rice and 2 glasses of barley, 2 of us paid $19.40 for our lunch. There wasn't any other dishes to order. So, it was like a standard set of meal for everyone but I felt about $10/pax was expensive. Frankly speaking, the tofu and kang kong were dispensable dishes. Lim Seng Lee operates like a duck rice express outlet. In order to manage the crowd, the food was served fast and they were not hot. So, if there is a plate of duck rice for $3, would you still go for Lim Seng Lee's?

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Lim Seng Lee Duck Rice
38 South Buona Vista Road
Tel: 6475 9908

Sunday, July 12, 2009

297. Marche

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A group of us had a gathering at Marche, Vivocity. Many said the previous outlet at Heeren (already closed) was much bigger. I still remembered that we were given a card each and for every dish we ordered, they will mark it down. Now, Marche has gone paper-less. It is using card system like our ez-link. Tap the card and your ordered dish will be recorded in the card.
There were clusters of cooking stations serving salads, savoury crepes, fried vegetables, thick soups, spanish paella, handmade pastas and rotisserie chicken and meats grilled on applewood-fed flames. Also not to miss are the dessert stations like sweet crepes, cakes, movenpick ice-cream and also there's a wine bar near the cashiers.

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Ice Apple Tea @$17/jug

We ordered 2 jugs, iced apple tea and lemon tea. I liked the apple tea. The apple taste was mild and had a tea fragrance.
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Mushroom soup (small) @$4
Add the croutons and sprinkle some pepper. The mushroom soup was mediocre. Could be made a tad richer.
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Salad (medium) @$8.90
I was surprised when my friend came back with this plate of salad. She was walking so carefully lest the greens dropped and marked her trail. Shouldn't these greens be put in a bowl? Putting salad on a plate is so wrong. And, from the quantity of greens that the plate contained, I personally felt it was a plate of overpriced salad.
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Chicken Crepe @$10.90
The crepe smelled like popiah and tasted like one. It was an oversized popiah. Whipped mushroom cream sauce was given to complement this crepe.
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Spanish Seafood Paella @$15.90
Paella's (aka paella de marisco) my favourite! When I saw the paella station, I ordered one without hesitation. "10 more mins", the lady cook said. The big blackboard wrote "3pm-6pm". Wow, if I had been there earlier, I would have miss my paella, I thought. My heart beamed.
One of the reasons I loved paella was because it was a very flavourful dish. Having added herbs like thyme, cumin, rosemary, saffron and etc. Ah, also not to forget the seafood juices, wine and chicken/vegetable broth that was absorbed into the rice. And when the paella was ready to serve, the aroma assailed the nostrils and the taste was simply mama-mia!
Marche's paella was delicious, well-flavoured and slightly moist. Must-try!

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Grilled Chicken Breast @$6.95
The grilled chicken was a tad too salty. The sauce was oil-ladened and didn't earn any points for the dish.
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Pork Knuckle @$18.90
The meat was quite dry and because of the loss of moisture, the meat was hard. The sauce was the same as for the chicken breast. It's not getting the 'wow' from me.
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Pizza @$7
Come back 10 mins later for your pizza, the chef told my friend. Freshly made pizza was a plus but the pizza was oily. Too much butter, eh? But the dough was soft and fluffy. Toppings could be made more flavoured.
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Calamari @$9.95
Pop, pop, by one we popped them into our mouths. Wait! Don't forget to dip them into the tartar sauce!
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Chicken Wings @$1.50 ea
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Chicken Sausage and Garlic Sausage @$6.90 ea

Ok, I didn't expect the sausages to be so expensive. They were nice but maybe you want to spare a thought for your pocket first?
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Movenpick ice-cream @$4.90/scoop
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Chocolate Fudge Cake @$4.90

Mediocre. It was slightly dry. What is a fudge cake without the moisture?
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Strawberry Cake @$3.90

Strawberries! That generous topping of strawberry fruits on the cake was already worth the money. The sponge cake was soft and fluffy. The cake was so good because the strawberries were sweet. Awwww.........can I have one more, please.
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Crepe of the week - Mango Caramel Crepe @$7.50

The crepe was crispy, topped with fresh fruits, what more can I say? Yum Yum. But, I personally felt mango with caramel tasted a little weird. What's your say?

Let me add on for the sake of rosti lovers. We had one but it was 'attacked' even before I managed to snap a picture of it. I'm not a lover of rosti. In fact, the mention of the name made me think of grease. I felt rosti is greasy and to eat one by oneself is definitely 'overdosage'. I tried Marche's. Well, it was crispy on the exterior and eating it with sour cream was delicious for some. Sorry, I'm still unable to appreciate this dish.

8 of us chalked up a total of $181. Marche is a great place for gatherings and also with the wide variety of food available, dining there was fun and interesting. The food was good, just that I find some food were slightly overpriced.

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Singapore 098585
Tel: 63768226