Friday, 26 January 2018

Sumo Bar Happy

This is actually a throwback post from last week. It's out of sheer laziness I took more than a week to write. I'm currently on diet hence the lack of food exploration. I want to look my best for Chinese New Year and my upcoming London trip in end April.

A belated birthday dinner from the brother. Sumo Bar Happy is a restaurant that is founded by the guys who are behind Tanuki Raw. It's a bar-like concept where people chill over bar food and alcohol. During my visit, I noticed the groups consisting of mainly couples, single men and one Japanese family. My brother and I stood out like sore thumbs because every other group consisted of at least one foreigner.

I wasn't too hungry so I settled for light bites. What you see here is the Lobster Taiyaki Sliders ($26). I didn't exactly read the menu and just glanced through instagram before ordering. This led me to mistook the Taiyaki pancakes as a crispy shell which unfortunately wasn't the case. Taste wise, I found the dish to be easy to eat. There's a sweetness to the fluffy pancakes which gave good balance to the sliders. I however still feel that a crispy shell would give the lobster sliders the added oomph. 

On top of the sliders, I also ordered the Spicy Mayo Char Siew HH Sushi ($5) and the Spicy Salmon HH Sushi ($5). It's on promotion if you reach there before 7pm. I would say that both sushi were done well but I'm still a greater fan of cold raw sushi.

The brother had his sights on the Sashimi Mazemen ($22) which is a combination of assorted sashimi and cold noodles. His assessment was that the raw fishes were really delicious with the slices very thick and generous. He also took notice that despite its thickness, the fishes were very easy to eat. The cold noodles and onsen egg that comes with the bowl play the role of the side dish to provide a complete meal experience.

Being at the bar, it'll be a waste not to try some of their sakes and my brother ordered the passion fruit sake ($10) to go with his meal.

I would say that Sumo Bar Happy is a pretty interesting concept which appeals more to foreigners used to bar top dining. I found the experience cramp. The menu selection has a number of unique dishes however there's an over emphasis on beef. As someone who doesn't eat beef, selecting a spread is rather challenging. If beef, alcohol and Japan agrees with you though, you might wish to check this place out.

Sumo Bar Happy
261 Waterloo Street #01-24 Waterloo Centre S180261

Thursday, 18 January 2018

Birds of a Feather - Sichuan Fusion Cuisine

It's Happy Birthday to me! So this week, I've put aside blogging because I was busy eating and meeting up with different people. As it is right now, I have 4 cakes in my fridge and 3 of them are chocolate cakes. I can imagine my waistline expanding! Very happy with my celebrations this year... I hope the rest of the year will remain awesome.

Vain Pot is currently overseas so I had the opportunity to entertain myself this year. I brought a friend to enjoy Sichuan food! Birds of a Feather is a Sichuan fusion restaurant that brings the East and West together in a manner that doesn't seem too deliberate. Most fusion cuisines don't really agree with me because I felt most try too hard. Over here, the cooking appears natural and you don't feel the chef forcing Chinese ingredients on Western style cooking and vice versa. This post is made up of 2 visits with a visit done earlier last year.

We settled for some mains and small plates. Everything was shared. Basically, being on Birthday mood, I didn't really research much on the food. I simply asked the staff to recommend. So we had Crispy Gyoza with Truffle Soy Vinaigrette ($16), Find the Chicken in the Chillies ($16) and Fortune Skewer in Sichuan Pepper Broth ($19).

I found the Gyoza to be well fried and the tastiness of the meat met expectations. However, I just realised it's supposed to have truffle which I failed to taste any. While the dish was executed well, I failed to see why the staff would recommend us to try.

Find the Chicken in the Chillies is the big winner of the night. The chicken chunks were fried and seasoned well. I found the chicken to be well infused with the Sichuan chilli and the chef got the flavour right. It feels authentic and legit as a Sichuan dish and it's so addictive I found myself digging through the chillies in hope of more chicken when we finished every piece.

The fortune skewers is also well cooked. The peppery broth stood out because it soothes the throat wetting our appetite before the mains arrived. While the dish is another tasty one due to its spiciness, I found the ingredients used for the skewers to be very ordinary. I don't feel it warrants the price it charges.

As for mains, there's the Hot and Sour Chazuke ($25), 'Xiang Su' Duck ($33) and Spicy Oriental Bolongnaise ($22). I found the Hot and Sour Chazuke to be delicious except it comes with rice. The hot spicy pickled mustard green broth really gives an added oomph for meal satisfaction.

'Xiang Su' Duck carried a twin style of seared braised breast meat and duck leg confit with roasted potato puree. I found the ducks to be well prepared. Duck confit had a well fried skin with tender meat that goes excellently with the potato puree. Braised meat was tender too!

The Spicy Oriental Bolognaise is a dish that stays deeply in my memory. Once the spicy angle hair pasta gets mixed with the onsen egg, the effect creates a creamy tangy taste which I like a lot.

Dessert was eaten during my first visit. Coffee latte ($7) and Caramel Chocolate Coffee Cubes Latte ($8). Latte taste like latte so $7 feels really pricey. On the other hand, I like it that the Chocolate Coffee Cubes are instagrammable and generally something different from the usual.

Would I return? Well, it's a yes since I came here twice. I really enjoy the spicy Sichuan food with a twist here. The ambiance is also awesome. This is probably the first fusion food joint I'm raving about because the chef managed to make east and west gel so well together. I'd strongly recommend this place for anyone who likes spicy Chinese food.

Birds of a Feather
15 Amoy Street #01-01 S069935

Tuesday, 9 January 2018

Barrafina - One Star Michelin Spanish Tapas

I've resumed my working routine and haven't had much time to hunt for food much. I think I've been overly indulgent over the past 1 month and honestly my body is a little tired of good food. Yes you heard that right... I've been eating a staple of caifan and subway for the past one week so there's really nothing much to rave about.

I figured I've featured a range of food in London but yet to showcase any Michelin Star food from there. A lot of people kept telling me to try the Michelin star food there because it's way more affordable than back home. This trip, I visited one or two but didn't exceptionally hunt for Michelin Star food because there were too much other day to day stuff I wish to try. I honestly don't think that eating Michelin Star food in London is any cheaper than Singapore.

This is going to be photo heavy. Our food selection is honestly based on staff recommendation. The staff were very helpful and knowledgeable. We started our meal with a Mackeral dish that's on the special menu. I forgot to take a photo of the dish because the staff kept us very engaged. Service was excellent and the grilled fish was cooked to a tee such that the bones and the meat were so easy to eat and swallow.

We also had the Stuffed Courgette Flower which is not only pleasing in terms of presentation, it was also prepared excellently. The flavours literally burst through our mouth when we bite through and it's really easy to finish.

I'd be very honest, I wouldn't have been so adventurous to try the food if the staff wasn't there to guide me through my selection. As much as I'd like to pretend I know what I'm eating, I've never heard of some of the dishes before. The Escalivada con Pan de Coca is one dish I have no clue what it is. Apparently it's a dish made of vegetables on toast. It taste really richly seasoned even though I probably won't order it again.

The Iberian Pork Ribs was probably the biggest loser of the night. This isn't to say that it's a totally bad dish. It just pales in comparison to every other dish we tried. The tender meat and fats didn't really gel well together even though the sauce helped to salvage the dish especially if one isn't a fussy eater.

I reserved a special mention to this classic tortilla. Before my trip to London, I was asking Vain Pot to learn to cook me Spanish Omelette. After we tried this, we decided to shelf the idea to preserve the good memories of this dish. The ingredients were oozing out of the omelette skin once you cut into it. I really enjoyed how the flavours were so intense and we found ourselves devouring the dish really quickly. Wow.. if only all my eggs could taste like that...

The Milhojas is another classic dish. It's made up of thin layers of unsweetened pastry filled with custard and decorated with almond flakes. Cutting in and enjoying the dish, we found the dessert balance to be just right. Its light and soothing coolness provided us with the perfect finale to end our Michelin Star experience.

The overall experience is definitely befitting a Michelin Star restaurant. For the service and food, I'd say the pricing is inexpensive. Dining at Barrafina has given me a different perspective to Spanish Tapas.

10 Adelaide Street, Covent Garden, London WC2N 4HZ