Monday, 27 July 2015

Buffet: Taste of Singapura at Brizo, Park Hotel Clarke Quay, Singapore 237983

It's buffet time, and I've recently tried out Brizo Restaurant at Park Hotel Clarke Quay's 'Taste of Singapura' buffet, which the name suggests, is a local food themed buffet featuring all the classics that we love! It is available from Wednesdays to Sunday evenings (6.30pm to 10.30pm) from now till 30 September 2015 and is priced at $58++ from Wed-Thursdays and extra $10++ for Friday and weekends. If you have children age six to 12 years old they will dine at half price!
I can't think of any other better way or time to celebrate our nation's 50th - with a decadent spread of our heritage and culture through Malay, Peranakan, Indian and Chinese cuisine all mixed in the spices, sauces and dips.

There's for example, a nice big Assam fish to carve some morsels from.

And a long line of local dishes in woks for your taking. There are also your usual sashimi, oysters, lobsters and scallops on the other table, which is where you make good on your investment. But the interesting part will be this row of goodies.

There was really awesome cereal in the cereal tiger prawns, though I would say that most local 'tze char' restaurants do a better job in integrating the cereal taste in the prawn meat, which was pretty bland. Still don't you think it's incredible for someone to think of cooking seafood with... cereal???

Also some delightful local green mussels with spicy bean sauce. Seafood fans, you really are in no lack of your fruits from the sea done in different ways.

Fish head in home made curry spices for example, could really hit the spot for those looking for something to go with the carbs (rice). I myself don't really eat fish head (too boney), but love drinking the curry sauce gravy.

Some crayfish was coated in salted egg sauce. The sauce was not too strong nor tasteless (good!) but the crayfish itself was rather 'meh' as I've always felted that crayfish is like imitation lobster. The ones at Brizo didn't really have that much meat too (compared to giant tiger prawns). Again, who is that bugger who decided that salted egg can make a good sauce? Do you guys know how much cholesterol is in salted egg but how good it tastes...

Then of course, what's Singapura without Chili Crab? Yes, this is a Singaporean dish, even if Malaysians might argue otherwise. Come on, we can share! The sauce in the chili crab wok was super yummy - we had to stop ourselves from gorging on the sweet, spicy and fragrant sauce that's dripping off the free flow man tous!

Lastly, some random knick-knacks, in the form of ngoh hiang (Chinese?) and satay (Malay). I really enjoyed the satay actually. The meat was sweet and not too hard, and the peanut sauce was authentic tasting. I hope there's pineapple in them.

Then, something I really liked -- the Curry Prawn Noodles! They are made ala minute by the chef at the station so it's fresh, and I liked the curry broth for being so 'lemak' and sedap! Do also check out the dessert station for especially the Durian Pengat, which you could not smell from the lobby, but definitely will be able to taste it.

The price is reasonable for the amount of value you'll get out of the fresh seafood and well-made local delights. If Western or 'international' style buffets bore you out, go local and get a taste of Singapura at Park Hotel! Definitely make a beeline for the chili crab, durian pengat, curry noodles and fresh oysters.
Brizo Restaurant & Bar
Park Hotel Clarke Quay
1 Unity Street, Singapore 237983
+65 65938855
Daily from 6am-10.30am, noon to 2.30pm and 6.30pm-10.30pm

Thanks Park Hotel and Brizo for the invite!

Read More

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Lunch Sandwiches: Park Bench Deli opens at 179 Telok Ayer Street, Singapore 068627

Are you ready to look at the best sandwiches in your life before you taste them? I attended the media preview of Park Bench Deli Singapore's opening last Friday at 179 Telok Ayer Street (within walking distance from Downtown line stop) and got myself treated to an array of awesome sandwiches by chefs Ming Tan and Andrei Soen who hailed from Lolla and The Cajun Kings respectively. They've built up a lot of hype with those sandwiches with pop-up events in the past, and finally opened up officially for business from Mondays to Fridays 8am to 6pm! 

Here's what they have to offer:

It's an open kitchen concept in a very well-decorated shophouse, which we found used to be a stationary shop. There's a hint of grease in the air when the grill is making delicious food but nothing to worry about, especially if you are wolfing down a sandwich in 5 minutes or grabbing something to go.

Here Chef Ming was explaining to us how Park Bench Deli was conceptualized - by two hungry chefs who really wanted good hearty sandwiches after a long day.

We had some sides first, of which the Potato Salad ($6) was just out of this world good. Those bacon bits...! If you had to get 1 side, get this.

On to the sandwiches. We tried a total of 4 that day, starting with the delectable Philly Cheese Steak Sandwich ($16). Even though it might seem a bit pricey, that's because you get a whole 6 incher chock full of thinly sliced high quality beef coated with generous layers of cheese, and caramalized onions.

Look at that! I like that the buns are firm but not too crusty or hard on the outside so it doesn't cut my tongue or roof of mouth when I try to stuff it in (it's a legit concern!)

Then.. with hunger pang edges dulled, we moved on to FRIED CHICKEN. Yes, you've heard right. It's a Southern-style Fried Chicken sandwich ($14) with coleslaw. The buns have been hollowed out so it can accommodate the meat, which has the perfect proportion of crispy skin, fats and juicy chicken thigh. It is probably my favorite among the lot because, fried chicken (do I need to say more?)

Then on to something more Asian inspired - of course it had to be pork. It's the Kong Bak Banh Mi ($14), made with sous vide pork belly cooked in rich dark sauce (or "zhup" if we're being colloquial), reminiscent of "kong ba" from the "kong ba bao", but dressed with some Vietnamese greens, hence the "banh mi". The was flavorsome, salty (not in the bad way) and oozes with the goodness from the pork belly. 

Lastly, we had the Torta ($15), which is a Mexican flavored pulled pork sandwich. The bun was first covered with a layer of guac (yum!), before pulled pork was added, then the toppings of various peppers, etc before a sprinkling of crunchy pork fats. Sinful you'll think, but the pork managed to retain a light, airy, pulled flavor instead of overwhelming with flavour, allowing you to taste the avocados and the salsa/jalepenos. This is great for people who love Mexican flavours.

Well what's the verdict you'll ask? If you don't already know or have basically glossed through all my ravings for the awesome sandiwches at Park Bench Deli, just know that it is good, go and try! I'll recommend the Potato Salad + the Fried Chicken or Cheese Steak sandwich.
Park Bench Deli
179 Telok Ayer Street, Singapore 068627
Mon - Fridays 8am to 6pm, closed on weekends
+65 68154600

This is how one gets 1k+ followers in seconds. With good food!

Thanks to Park Bench Deli for the invite and feeding us breakfast, lunch, brunch and tea. Because after that all I could eat was dinner...

Read More

Saturday, 18 July 2015

Japanese Omakase: Hakumai at #01-50A International Plaza, Singapore 079903

One of the best omakase I've ever had. There are two types of omakase at Hakumai located at the first floor of International Plaza at Tanjong Pagar - the $68.80++ Sushi Omakase, and the $150-250 Omakase Course. I went for the latter, and this is probably the most expensive Japanese meal I've paid for so far, but it was definitely worth the experience. 

After trying the full suite though, I did find it a bit too much in terms of volume, so if I were to go back, I'll just do the $68.80 course to save on money and calories. If you're thinking of going, please call ahead and make a reservation because the place is not big at all, and it's packed during weekends. 

I'm just going to let the pictures do the talking now (taken with the FUJIFILM A-X2), since everything was fresh and delicious, rivaling any sushi/sashimi place in Japan. Remember, this is what you get for the more expensive omakase, but you can see from the ingredients it's worth every bit. Oh and in the first picture of the starters, that 2nd dish from the left was cod sperm. Which tasted surprisingly good!


There's a whole oyster in the chawanmushi. How's that for decadent?

The signature foie gras with prawn sushi, the best and most famous, saved for the last.

Hakumai might not have a famous Japanese or Michelin-starred chef, but the local chef's philosophy of serving what's fresh and tasty does the job to make you feel that every penny is well spent for quality seafood and an exploratory dining experience. Highly recommended for omakase fans - even Dr. Leslie Tay says it's great!

#01-50A, 10 Anson Road, International Plaza, Singapore 079903
+65 62244790
Mon to Saturdays 11.30am - 3pm, 6pm - 10.30pm
Closed on Sundays

Read More

Monday, 6 July 2015

Ramen Review: New Chabuton at Milllenia Walk #02-15, Singapore 039596

Well, are you? Up for the Spicy Yoruton Ramen Challenge at Chabuton?

I had the pleasure to try out the new Chabuton outlet at Millenia Walk (after having an awesome tasting at their sister restaurant Saboten at 313 Somerset) for their ramen. The Chabuton chain's opened by Michelin-starred Chef Ysuji Morizumi and has a certain standard. I'm actually quite a big ramen fan in the past, having tried all the notable ones in Singapore, but have of late moved past ramen to other pastures. 

When I heard about the Spicy Ramen challenge, the first thing I asked was, erm, are there any non-spicy ramen that I can try instead? Because I am a huge spice wuss. I really cannot eat spicy food (of course I failed at the Korean Fire Noodle challenge)! I was assured that there will be non-spicy ramen. Yes. Ok, I'm there.

We first started with some small dishes that you can order as sides. The pork belly was exceptionally good. The rest was alright, though the char siew with rice (a small bowl) is also a great accompaniment. That, and a half bowl ramen, is actually enough to fill your stomach!

The feast for the 3 of us, including a bowl of regular ramen which I really enjoyed (with the egg!). It's worthwhile to come by Chabuton for that, if you cannot eat spicy food.

But if you can take spicy food, and abusing your tongue is one of those things you particularly enjoy, there's this Level 5 ramen. We also had a Level 3, and concluded that the difference is just in the amount of chili that gets smacked onto the bowl. Look at the chili seeds!

I tasted 2 bites of it and it was just fire fire fire in my mouth. Unlike the Korean Fire Noodles that slowly starts to burn at a crazy, increasingly intense level, the spice here is immediate and sharp. It hits you like a punch in your face and then leaves you to sting in pain. But my dining companions actually managed to eat more than just a mouthful each. Apparently it is not THAT spicy. Really???

You've gotta find out for yourself. The Yoruton Ramen Challenge will end by 31 July, so head to any Chabuton outlet (one in 313 and one at Millenia Walk) to give your tastebuds some exquisite torture. Otherwise, order any of their ramen and have a good time with it!

Chabuton Millenia Walk
#02-15, 9 Raffles Boulevard, Singapore 039596
Tel: +65 68370335
From 11.30am to 10pm daily

Read More

Sunday, 5 July 2015

Chinese Tapas and Cocktails: Sum Yi Tai at 25 Boon Tat Street, Singapore 069622

Does your mistress know? Sum Yi Tai, which means third wife in Cantonese, is a Chinese tapas bar at the gentrified Boon Tat street serving up food and drinks for dragons. Over classical Cantonese ballads. If it sounds slightly gimmicky, it is, but fortunately this is one gamble that paid off. In the sea of tungsten lightbulbs and wooden mismatched furniture, Sum Yi Tai managed to look like a 80s speakeasy for Chinese mafia to gather with their KTV hostess mistresses. Of course in reality it's just Singaporeans and expats working in the area gathering for a few expensive cocktails and Chinese food, which luckily was surprisingly tasty! 

 All the CDs on the wall.
Here's the menu. All the good stuff we Chinese people love, in smaller portions so you can have more variety and share the sin.

Research showed that the XO carrot cake ($12) is a must-order, so we did. It was good. Had a slight wok-fried taste to it. It's easy to eat, but it has character in the combination of soft carrot cake and crunchy veggie accompaniments.

Then there was the Salmon Skin with Salted Egg and Lime Zest ($9). Crunchy and appetizing. The salted egg coating was a fine dusting of grainy goodness that I wished could be more (but won't be a good idea). This was super addictive and definitely goes well with drinks!

We took a chance and got some Shrimp Roe Tossed Noodles with Chives and Choi Sum ($6) since it was only 6 bucks. A really simple dish but good as a carb filler. Noodles were not too 'alkaline' either.

The noodles served as a foil for another of their 'must-try', the Roast Platter ($32). Unfortunately if I were to be really critical about it, none of the meats here are super exceptional. But as a Chinese tapas to go with cocktails, this platter is genius. There's just something about roasted pork and duck that hits the spot.

Lastly, a Chicken and Chinese sausage claypot rice ($26) to share. T'was hearty, flavourful and easy to eat. All the dishes were really authentic tasting, almost what you'll get from the Chinatown food centre, except for the price of course. 

Drinks can be had at the restaurant and also upstairs on their rooftop bar. Choose the rooftop bar if you can because you get a great feel of the CBD amidst fairy lights and Peranakan tiles. The owners of the place really got the feel of the place down pat. I had a Golden Dragon ($19) and it was yum! All the drinks looked so elaborate and cool we had a difficult time choosing.

Sum Yi Tai is definitely one of the hottest bars on the block that you have to check out for the atmosphere, food and drinks. Order their carrot cake and claypot rice for sure, and a Chrysanthemum cocktail.
Sum Yi Tai
25 Boon Tat Street, Singapore 069622
Lunch Mon-Fri 11.30am to 2.30pm
Dinner Mon-Sat 5pm to 1am (last order 30 mins before closing)
Closed on Sundays
+65 62213665

Read More