Saturday, March 30, 2013

Amuse @ Orchard Hotel

We first came to know about Amuse after reading the news that the former Les Amis head chef has opoened a new Spanish tapas restaurant in the Orchard Hotel building facing Orchard Parade Hotel. Unfortunately, it was located in one of the most boring corner of Orchard Road, and we have never thought of visiting this place until a rainy weekday evening.

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The rain was very big, and hence it was only 30% occupied.

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The Amuse restaurant is located just next to its sister restaurant Esmirada. And unknown to quite a few, you can actually cross order the Spanish dishes from both restaurants.

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Mint Tea (S$5)

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Roasted pumpkin soup with prawn, pumpkin seed and cilantro (S$11). Soup was delicious, and was full of sweet roasted pumpkin puree.

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Many people came for this signature dish. Crispy pork crouton with (a) Iberico pork belly - S$14, (b) lightly smoked eel - S$21. With horseradish, Dijon mustard and greens The smoked eel version was "brought over" from Les Amis. We find it good, but not really over the top good. Not sure why everyone was raving about this dish here.

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Grilled Spanish octopus with heirloom tomatoes, Austrian pumpkin seed oil (S$19). The octopus was juicy and not "leathery".

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Ciabatta wrapped crispy egg with prosciutto, spinach and mushroom ragout (S$15). Another dish "brought over" from Les Amis. We like this one better. A very comforting dish with a very pocket-friendly price.

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Braised pork ribs with dark beer, potato, balsamic onions and celery (S$16)

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Char grilled wagyu cubes cooked in hay (S$39).

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Some may not be able to accept the "smokiness" of the beef. But all agreed that the beef was juicy and tender.

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Paella Valenciana. Spanish saffron rice with chicken, seafood and chorizo (S$35). We cross ordered this dish from Esmirada. It was okay we feel. Nothing to shout about.

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Ended with a super tiny Tiramisu (S$6).

442 Orchard Road
Orchard Hotel

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Lei Garden Restaurant @ Chijmes

The restaurants in Chijmes have been changing every now and then, but Lei Garden has withstood the change of times and have been here since the very start.

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And reasons why it's still popular among diners is the location, service, food and reputation.

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Few years ago, Lei Garden had a huge renovation and out of all Cantonese restaurants in Singapore, I think Lei Garden really ranks as one of the top few best looking restaurants.

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Weekend dinner special - Roast Suckling Pig skin with fragrant glutinous rice (S$42 for small), Lei Garden does a mean version of roast suckling pig. Skin is really crust and crisp without being too oily. And the rice below added some depth to the dish. It's pricey, but do order if you are here on weekends because it's only available on weekdays with advance reservation.

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The beautiful and classic plating here. But always have a headache reading the cylindrical menu

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No charge for iced water.

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We enjoyed the yummy Double boiled daily soup (S$14 for half pot) - Today's special was Pork Rib with Prunella vulgaris (夏枯草) and Kombu. Full of flavours with every sip.

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Here comes the huge Alaskan King Crab steamed with Hua Diao wine and egg white (S$288 for one crab). Again, this is very pricey, but IMHO, worth every single cent. The meat was so sweet and delicious. Recommended for steaming to enjoy the sweetness of the Alaskan crab.

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Mustard Green fried with superior stock and crispy conpoy (S$22). Neatly presented.

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Deep Fried Chicken with Honey and ginger (S$24). Quite ordinary for this, but we finished it up in no time.

Conclusion is that yes it's pricey. But service was good, and food were excellent.

Lei Garden Restaurant
30 Victoria Street

Monday, March 25, 2013

Wah Lok Cantonese Restaurant @ Carlton Hotel

Before Chinese New Year, Wah Lok completed a million dollar renovation. So decided to pop by to see what's new here.

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I like this hanging glass ornament at the main lobby of Carlton Hotel. Looks like something is descending from the heavens.

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Something new here is this "spaceship" like entrance. It's nice, but I find it quite a waste of space. Would be good if they are able to add more tables and chairs during the weekend for their ever-popular dim sum brunch.

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Sharks fin melon pork ribs soup (S$7.50 per person). The soup was quite ordinary. Prefer the double boiled soup at Imperial Treasure.

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Somrthing new we do not often see - Deep fried century egg with shrimp paste. And it tastes just like how a "Pei Tan" + XO sauce would taste. Couldn't really taste the shrimp past covering the egg.

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This looks very nice on the menu, but when brought to our table, the Baked stuffed sea whelk (S$20) doesn't look as beautiful. The chunks of sea whelk flesh was baked with cheese and cream sauce.

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Stir fried pork neck meat with black pepper sauce (S$20 for small). Meat was tender.

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Steamed lobster in Chinese wine with vermicelli (S$28 per person). The taste was quite bland. Lobster was fresh though.

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Fried rice with garlic and Chinese sausage (S$22 for small). Couldn't finish this. I guess the entire fried rice wasn't up to standard. Too oily. And we find the rice was simply fried with garlic bits and dark soya sauce. Quite disappointed.

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Green apple and Chrysanthemum jelly (S$6) Light and sweet.

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Also ordered the traditional Grass herbal jelly with honey (S$9).

Conclusion is that this place is good for Dim Sum, but not really good for their "main course" items for dinner. Need more improvement.

Wah Lok Cantonese Restaurant
76 Bras Basah Road
Level 2
Carlton Hotel

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Ramen Keisuke Tori King @ 100 AM

By now, most ramen lovers in Singapore would have tried the popular Ramen at Orchid Hotel along Tanjong Pagar Road. The owners have recently opened a 2nd outlet in the new Amara Hotel shopping mall nearby.

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As you can see, instead of "Pork Ribs King", the shop here is "Chicken King". The ramen stock here is boiled for hours using chicken bones and their secret ingredients.

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Unlimited supplies of boiled white eggs, pickled beansprouts and water. Self service for all these.

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Tori King Ramen with Egg ($13.90). The soup stock was excellent. Not sure if any pork bones were added, but the soup was sweet and really full of flavours. Come with a giant piece of freshly roasted seaweed.

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The most value for money thing here is a giant full thigh + drumstick with every bowl of ramen, I don't think any ramen shop in Singapore gives that in each and every bowl of their ramen. Also comes with 2 thick pieces of char siew. And a ramen egg. Extremely value for money, and a tasty bowl of ramen.

Long queues expected during peak hours, so be prepared to wait!

Ramen Keisuke Tori King
100 Tras Street
100 AM

Monday, March 18, 2013

THAILAND: Bo.Lan Restaurant @ Bangkok

I guess for most Singaporeans, they will tend to singger at the name of this restaurant. But before you start to think something lewd, the name has no relations to Hokkien.

It is actually the name of the 2 chefs, who are also a couple too. Chef Bo, and Chef Dylan. Hence the name Bo.Lan.

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Ordered a delicious Thai Milk Tea in preperation of the firey feast ahead.

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Quite a relaxed setting. They have both al-fresco and air-con sections. Here, you won't get your usual Pineapple Rice or Pandan Chicken, but really innovative dishes using the best of Thai cooking and ingredients.

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Quite empty when we were there on a weekday. Here, you cannot find much Thai customers because of the expensive prices. Mostly foreigner diners. But you can be assured that the food here is one of the best in Bangkok.

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Signature cocktail with palm nectar, Thai rum

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An unusual appetizer - Crispy puffed rice with balsamic vinegar

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The actual dinner starts with Rice wine (a Thai spirit), pandan water, sour fruit, chilli powder

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Amuse bouche : Crispy rice cake with minced pork, sea bass, mango salad, sausage, prawn fritter. Everything was yummy!

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Salted fish soup & tom yam fish. The tom yam was spicy.

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Something most Singaporeans would not have seen before in BKK - Salad of Ayuthaya river prawn and grilled long aubergine served with soft boiled duck egg. And it tastes good.

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More unique dishes: Chilli relish of steamed herbal fed chicken served with fried market fish & local vege

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Cassioa leave & flower curry with slow cooked "KU" beef in Mon Style

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Stir fried pork tender with chili relish of dried prawns
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Organic wild rice and jasmine fragrant rice

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Pre dessert : salak in shaved ice served with coconut candy

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Jack fruits in coconut cream served with crispy snack

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Petit four : nothing near to "petit". It's huge serving of assorted dessert. Yummy

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Chiang Mai tea with spices, mint, ginger & honey

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Highly recommended to all holiday makers going to Bangkok!

Bo.Lan Restaurant
42 Sukhumvit Sio 26