Sunday, 28 July 2019

Duckland - Fusion Cuisine by Tunglok Group

Apparently Duckland is supposed to be a duck specialty concept by the Tunglok Group however there's too few duck dishes on the menu for me to concur. I would call them a fusion concept and with that, it might be a more appropriate dining concept.

This duck confit and waffles ($20) reminds me of the one at Duck & Waffles in London. The duck is way smaller here though. According to my dining companion he felt the food was decent but gave no indication that it's a clear winner. I personally like the presentation given my soft spot for instagrammable food. This is just the beginning.

I settled for Good Ol' Fish & Chips ($18) which is battered with bread crumbs and comes with coleslaw and potato wedges on the side. I felt that the fish was well cooked but the bread crumb batter was a little over-fried so it's a little on the hard side. Other than that, I pretty much enjoyed my meal.


I felt the biggest highlight of this place is their instagrammable food. To prove the point, I had this Speculoos Affogato ($8.50) which is my biggest satisfaction for the night. Given how wary I was about overly sweet desserts, the staff assured me this is not very sweet and she certainly didn't oversell me. It's perfect!

The Ultraviolet Berries Lemonade ($4.50) also scored on how pouring in some liquid and stirring would make it change colour. All our phones were out to capture the moment.

I left the highlight of the night to the last. To say the good stuff first, the staff service was awesome. They asked me if I wanted Ketchup for my fish and chips on their own initiative. She checked if her recommendation of the speculoos ice cream was meeting my sweetness requirements. In the service line, this is so rare, I'll be back again just to experience it.

Sadly the story doesn't end here. The management team apparently were having their own side little party in the restaurant. Boy were they unruly. Oh yes, you read those articles about people smashing tables, laughing loudly and banging stuff in the papers (usually it's because there's disagreement), this one was in a friendly setting but every action imaginable you can associate unruly with, I got a live show. I'm not sure if this was supposed to be part of the instagrammable moment, was I supposed to film it with my camera so that it goes viral? In any case, I didn't have the guts to film such a rowdy group. They look capable of smashing my phone or me for that matter so I prefer to chicken out than risk my well being or my phone's. Because of this experience and I was having an important conversation with another person and we had to raise our voices to be heard, I will not be back again despite them having wonderful service staff. They gave me a voucher, not sure if it's to keep my mouth shut. I left it at the table so I can say whatever I like. What a pity.

United Square Shopping Mall, 101 Thomson Road, #B1-09/64/65, S307591

Sunday, 7 July 2019

Big Boys Sizzling - Quality Western Food in Hawker Centre

Big Boys Sizzling caught my attention because someone told me that they are opened by a former chef of Ritz Carlton. They have set up shop at Beauty World Food Centre and is part of the large array of food selection there. So I made this trip to find out more about the food after shedding fats at Bukit Timah Hill.

We asked the chef what were their key highlights and he mentioned to us their best sellers were the steak, cornflake chicken and mentaiko fries. The dish you see here is the Cornflake Chicken with Nacho Cheese Fries ($8.90). The chicken is really fried well. Some people might find the cornflake chicken a little on the dry side but because the exterior is fried till so crispy and the meat fairly juicy I'd say it exceeds expectation for hawker fare. I really like the fries too. I think that the fries batter is similar to what you find at Long John's Silver (my favourite fast food) so if you like Long John's like me, you will enjoy this.

So another friend chose to double his protein and added a dory to go with the cornflake chicken ($11.90). I'll say the fish is pretty normal, in fact I find Dory fish to be not worth the money. Won't recommend ordering it.

Aside from that, there's the Sirloin Steak with Mentaiko fries ($11.40) which according to my friend tastes awesome too. I'll say that the sauces that comes with the fries have successfully made all the fries true to their flavours.

As a whole, it was a pleasurable and indulging meal. For the price, it's definitely value for money. The portions are huge too! Aside from that, I'll say that because the portions are huge, it might be a little 'jelat' for some to finish. I guess the benchmark for good food is really whether I'll be back. Honestly, unless I'm around the area and crave for western, if not I doubt I'll spend there again. While it's definitely competent western fare, I feel it caters to the Beauty World crowd more than anything else. I wish the owner all the best!

Big Boys Sizzling 
144 Upper Bukit Timah Road, #04-25, Beauty World Centre, S588177

Sunday, 23 June 2019

MYO Restobar - Classic Home-styled Cantonese Dishes

MYO restobar is a hidden gem located at Oxley Tower. It serves classic home-styled Cantonese cuisines and is perched up the 19th floor of the building. I'm really thankful to have found this place as I was looking to celebrate someone's birthday with my colleagues and seriously, the number of mid-range good Chinese restaurants in CBD is really lacking. You are stuck with either super high-end choices which would have been an overkill or low end which would have been an understatement of the occasion.

The set I picked was the 3 pax Group Set Lunch ($138).

To kick off the feast, the first item was Steamed Siew Mai with Mushroom. It might look like your typical siew mai but it's legitimately above average. I was quite impressed. Personally, siew mai has always been my gauge to a restaurant's dim sum quality and this one passed the test. I like it that the meat is plump and juicy with generous serving.

Next up was supposed  to be Crispy Yam Bag with Scallops. However, I don't take yam so I changed it to Dumplings with Shiitake Mushroom and Black Truffle. This one is awesomely good too. I got to praise the place for its generous fillings. Aside from them, the dim sum is made well and you can see each piece hold its own and doesn't fall apart at the slightest touch.

The third dish is the signature Kia Hiang Claypot Spring Chicken. This dish is richly flavoured and I really like the sauce. It goes excellently with white rice. I couldn't stop eating it. It's wrapped with cabbage and the chicken meat is really tender. Must try!

The Guifei Beancurd with 3 Treasures was also competently done. It's definitely comfort food and I find myself happily gobbling up every item.

I've no idea why a Cantonese restaurant has Grilled Australian Silverback Wagyu Ribeye cooked this way but as expected it is just sub par.

The feast concludes with Double Boiled Peach Gum with Red Dates. It's very sweet so be warned. Other than that it does help to balance out our very full and rich meal.

I see myself coming back to MYO Restobar many more times. Given that the choices for mid-range Chinese food in CBD is so scarce, I'll probably be throwing more celebrations here.

MYO Restobar
19-01 Oxley Tower, 138 Robinson Road, S068906 
(Take lift from Lobby 1)

Sunday, 16 June 2019

A & W @ Jewel

After a very long wait, A & W is finally back in Singapore! You know the excitement if I have to queue 2 hours just to have this meal even after a couple of weeks since Jewel opened its doors officially to the public. This is actually a throwback post. I've been holding out for the A & W waffles but guess it is not happening in the short term. It was already 9pm when we got our food and I'm kinda on a diet so didn't want to push to eat waffles at this time.

My friend picked the cream cheeze chicken combo ($10.90) which comes with cream cheese burger,  curly fries and drink. I guess to be honest, fast food is fast food. The expectation cannot be out of this world. It's definitely a good burger as long as you know you are having fast food.

As for my 2 Piece Fried Chicken Combo ($8.90) it's very much an American fried chicken. For most american style fried batter, it has this distinct charred taste that isn't very oily. While it isn't my kind of favourite, it's authentic american fried chicken.

Personally, I was more excited with my root beer float (+60 cents from my meal). It is definitely what I imagined and reminded me of my childhood days. It's 100% A&W. This makes me happy because it's probably what I queued for. I couldn't remember the mains that A&W served because I was too young and there's no memory besides the waffles and the root beer float.

The million dollar question got to be is it worth the queue? Honestly, no. Queuing 2 hours for fast food is crazy. My friend was nudging me to queue for Shake Shack instead but I already tried it in London and no way was I going to queue for that in Singapore. In fact, I felt a little crazy queuing for this even. I mean, if you have the means to travel overseas, surely 2 hours can be better spent doing something else?

If not for the passion of blogging about food, there's no way I would have queued for this.

A & W
78 Airport Boulevard, #B2-209, Jewel Changi 

Sunday, 9 June 2019

Kok Sen Restaurant - Michelin Bib Gourmand Zichar

I've taken a two week hiatus on blogging because I was simply too busy. Kok Sen Restaurant has been on my radar since it was awarded the Michelin Bib Gourmand when the Michelin gradings appeared in Singapore. However, I kept delaying my visit because I've read multiple accounts of the appalling service from the 'proud staff' so was afraid to jio my friends there in case they got a negative experience. So when my friend suggested going to Kok Sen Restaurant, I was very much agreeable.

Since there was only two of us there's a limited selection we can try. One of the acclaimed dishes is this claypot yong tou fu ($15) which totally lives up to its name. I especially like the red chilli stuffed with spicy fish meat. It's absolutely tasty and the sauce is another winner on its own.

Another must try is this Big Prawn Horfun ($18). It's so difficult to find good horfun with legitimate wok-hei flavour nowadays that I'm savouring every bite of this plate. The one at Kok Sen is cooked with chilli padi and the egg infused sauce of this horfun carries with it a tangy spiciness that is highly addictive. The big prawns live up to its billing too. It's really huge and easy to eat. Seriously, after the meal, I really want to come back for another go already.

The sweet and sour pork ($13) is the most disappointing of the lot. It DOESN'T look like the picture in the menu at all. I seriously hate this. In their menu, I saw big nice slabs of juicy sweet and sour pork. The actual one is so miserly. Taste was okay.. but I really find this unacceptable because my $13 could be better utilised on another dish if not for the photo...

Would I return? Well, yes. I'll come back for the horfun and claypot yong tou fu any day. Oh and I think I spotted the sour face lady everyone was talking about too hah! Kok Sen Restaurant definitely is worth a visit because they have top quality dishes at reasonable price points. My next visit though, I'll do my due diligence online instead of ordering based on photos!

Kok Sen Restaurant 
30 Keong Saik Road, S089137
(please note: they only accept cash!)

Monday, 20 May 2019

New Ubin Seafood (Zhong Shan Park) - Traditional Zi Char Upgraded to hotel dining

I wouldn't have known of a shopping mall in Zhongshan Mall or Ramada Hotel for that matter had it not been because I had Mother's Day celebration at New Ubin Seafood. Originally from Pulau Ubin, it set up roots on mainland Singapore many years ago in Sin Ming Industrial Estate and most recently upgraded to being located inside Ramada Hotel by Wyndham Singapore.

The brother was the one who did all the research and ordering. My task was basically to fulfill the headcount and help to clear the food. We kick-started our meal with this crispy pork jowl that comes with sweet sauce. The pork was lean, fried excellently with the crispiness just right and honestly, it's somewhat addictive.

Next up was Har Cheong Gai which is also fragrantly fried and chicken meat was tender. Personally, I don't know how to appreciate this dish as it feels less tasty compared to fast food fried chicken yet without a distinctive taste to identify itself. It's definitely a competent effort but I'm probably the wrong fit for the dish.

It's Mother's Day and we selected mom's favourite dishes which includes this curry fish head. The curry is robust with flavour and it's very rich in coconut milk. For those of you who likes your curry this way, you'll love it. I'm a little disappointed that the meat on the fish head is relatively little. Not enough for 3 people...

Then we had the New Ubin's Hokkien Mee Special. The brother was raving that this is one of their signature dishes. Indeed the appearance looks a little different from the traditional hokkien mee. The broth appears creamier and the ingredients used are a little more premium. There's even clams! In terms of wok hei and flavourfulness, I felt it's competent but still hasn't reached the oomph that gets me craving for it after the meal. It is definitely better than the Zi Char stall downstairs my house haha!

As a whole, my take on this sort of Zi Char restaurants is their suitability for family and big group gatherings. It's not the out of the world food that people are coming back for. It is comfort food. In this aspect, I'd say New Ubin Seafood is among the ranks of Zi Char (now with air-con and top quality service) that I would suggest.

New Ubin Seafood
Ramada by Wyndham Singapore, Zhongshan Park, 16 Ah Hood Road, S329982

Sunday, 12 May 2019

Two Hana - Halal Fusion Cafe With Value For Money Set Lunches

Two Hana joins the repertoire of food selections in the newly refurbished Century Square. It's a halal korean-western fusion cafe. With its instagrammable food and cafe style setting, it's location choice in a shopping mall would bring lots of convenience to many end consumers. I've got to highlight that their weekday lunch sets with nett prices are really impressive!

Kicking off the meal, I chose the Chicken Bulgogi Linguine set ($15) that comes with a side and drink. Got to say that the flavour and taste has been rather heavily flavoured. The spiciness is mild and goes well with the onsen egg in the dish. Portions are huge which makes it hard to finish overtime because I felt rather 'jelat'. The linguine could have been executed better but it's definitely competent for the deal on the table.

The side I picked was this truffle tater tots that really tastes like truffle hash browns. It's addictive and easy to finish. Highly recommended for a side!

The other mains selected was the Korean Mushroom Bab Set ($15). The kimchi rice is surprisingly fragrant and on point with all the flavours. The bowl mimics a bibimbap bowl and does a really good rendition of it. The side chosen was a mushroom soup which was surprisingly competent for a set lunch side.

I felt a bit cheated by this kimchi mac and cheese ($10.90) because I saw online that it has a very attractive cheesy stretch. The one served to us was totally off and it was so bad neither me or my dining companion finished even one cube. To be fair, it was fried to crispy and the mac and cheese does have flavour. However with the heavy meal in front of us and a underwhelming carbo dish, we really didn't feel willing to consume the unnecessary calories. I really think Two Hana should control the quality better.

If I worked nearby, I'd be back often to have more set lunches. The food ranks quite high among its value for money competition. However the food isn't amazing if you need to travel. I would say it's a good treat for the working crowd and residents of Tampines but it's a far cry from those cafes where they can be located at ulu locations and not worry about going out of business.

Two Hana
Century Square, #01-21, 2 Tampines Central 5, 529509

Sunday, 5 May 2019

Earlybird Cafe - Fairly New Cafe with Decadent Pancakes

I'm kinda a late bird to this Earlybird Cafe. They opened in mid 2018 and I'm only visiting them now. They caught my eye when they first launched because I'm a sucker for pancakes. Their buttermilk fried chicken pancake looks sinfully delicious. Ironically, I skipped it this visit because my stomach was too small and I wanted to try another pancake.

The side effects of dieting is that your stomach shrinks along with your waistline. So my companion and I decided to share a main then head straight for the dessert. For a main, we decided to try the Tom Yum Prawn ($20) which tastes really satisfying. The Tom Yum carries a tangy sourish flavour which hits all the right notes for me. There's an excessive use of onions which didn't appeal to my picky companion but apart from that personal preference, it's really good! Portion is pretty generous too so I feel pretty thankful that I didn't order the buttermilk fried chicken pancakes.

We picked the Hotcake Bling ($18) as our dessert of choice. It's basically vanilla ice cream on top of a hotcake with lots of candy floss on the side to provide the aesthetics. Blue berries, strawberry slices and walnuts provide the balance to the sweetness. The dessert surprisingly wasn't very sweet. In fact, the ice cream went excellently with the hotcake and candy floss. Having a soft spot for hotcakes, I like this version as it's adequately crispy on the outside and sufficiently fluffy inside. It's not an understatement to say that the brunch meal brightened up my day.

I'd most definitely come back again because I paid with FavePay and now have a $3.80 cashback which I can use at the cafe. The food is awesome and I'm looking forward to the buttermilk fried chicken pancakes on my next visit.

Earlybird Cafe
17 Jalan Pinang, S199149

Saturday, 20 April 2019

Cottontail Creamery - Hidden Gem in Serangoon

Cottontail Creamery has been on my radar since early last year. Back then, I've tried their crepes with ice cream and even left feedback on my instagram commenting on how easily their ice cream melted. They caught my attention because they acknowledged my comment and my second visit actually saw an improved effort to cool the crepe before putting the ice cream on it. For some reason, I associated them as an ice cream parlour and didn't take their mains seriously. It's only after one of my friends commented that they serve nice brunch that I made this third visit to check it out.

The Cottontail Big Breakfast ($18.50) came in hearty portion. The menu comprises of home-made Toulouse sausage patty, sunny side-up organic eggs, smashed potato, roasted portebello mushrooms, vine tomato and tomato relish. They got the seasoning and flavours surprisingly on-point. Definitely worth a try.

Next up was this Tuscan Wild Pig Stew with Rigatoni Pasta ($16.50) which also won approval points really quickly. The pig stew is soft, tender and very balanced in their flavours. Eating it will whet your appetite however if you don't have a very big stomach, it might become 'jelat' over time.

The Pulled Pork Quesadilla ($17.50) wins in both appearance and in taste. It caught my attention mainly because of the toasted mozzarella that has crispy edges. Every bite is bursting with flavour and it'll definitely appeal to cheese lovers.

If you are a meatball lover but you don't take beef, you'll know how hard it is to find good meatballs in Singapore to satisfy your cravings. The Swiss Meatballs ($17.50) at Cottontail Creamery might be your solution. It's beef free. The creamy brown mushroom sauce that comes with the dish is richly flavoured and it goes excellently with the meatballs. I find that the mix of fatty and lean meat can be further improved. Nevertheless I was still left pretty much blown away.

For desserts, the crepe with nutella sauce coupled with smoked salted caramel ice cream and Tahitian vanilla is another winner. Granted that their ice cream in general melts pretty quickly, the quality of the ice cream are quite premium. If you like good ice cream with crepe, this is probably your go-to place. If you don't like rushing through your food, you probably will avoid their ice creams.

Summing up my visit, Cottontail Creamery has just achieved top spot in my Serangoon cafe listing. Their mains succeeded in achieving a certain level of food standard that I approve. Desserts carry a certain degree of quality too. While I still gripe about their ice cream because I don't fancy rushing through my food, this is probably the only ice cream on crepe place I'm willing to part my dollars with. It's almost a certainty I'm coming back here again.

Cottontail Creamery
Blk 326, Serangoon Avenue 3, #01-378, S550326

Sunday, 14 April 2019

Violet Oon (Ion) - Showcasing Singapore Culinary Treasures

Violet Oon is a household name known for being the Singapore ambassador for local cuisines. The founder whose name is the inspiration behind Violet Oon Singapore, The Restaurant Group, was once named Chef de Mission to lead team Singapore at the Worlds of Flavours Conference and Festival in 2004, 2007 & 2009. The Restaurant Group itself prides its commitment to showcase Singapore food and heritage in the form of Nonya, Chinese, Indian and Malay cuisines.

It is also because of this specialization that I made the decision to bring my mom here for her birthday celebration. I say this because I'm not a big fan of Peranakan, Nonya cuisines where coconut is mainly used in most of the dishes. In fact, I typically steer clear of such food. If not because my mom enjoys local cuisines, I wouldn't have had this Singapore High Tea Set ($58 for 2 pax) experience which I thoroughly enjoyed!

The meal kicked off with a pair of scones served with cream and jam. The pair came with one plain and the other drizzled with gula melaka sauce. While the scones were buttery and crumbly, I felt that its brittle nature made enjoying the scone messy and difficult. Having said that, I like it that the portion was just right because it gave sufficient room for the other dishes.

The first tier of our high tea set came consists of Kuay Pie Tee with julienned bamboo shoots with turnip poached in a prawn bisque, traditionally steamed Yam Cake topped with dried prawn, chinese sausage, dried mushroom, minced pork, five spiced powder and fried shallots and Chilli Crab Tartlet with Quail Egg. I've got to say that the flavours were all on point and they were all easy to eat. The Yam Cake is one of my favourites despite me usually avoiding yam.

The second tier of our high tea set consists of Cream Cheese and Cucumber Openface Sandwich, Egg Salad Tartlet with Pineapple Patcharee, Coronation Chicken on Crispy Wanton Skin and Otak on Belgium Endive. I'd say that the execution of all the items were excellent. Having said that, I felt it'll be perfect if the cream cheese sandwich and egg salad tartlet had been replaced with more localised items. Eating the Otak on Endive and Chicken on Wanton Skin really made me appreciate the genius of the Violet Oon creations. Sometimes you pay a premium for food and have no idea why. I think the creativity on how food can be presented really justifies every cent I pay for this meal.

The third tier is where I sacrifice for my mother because of my dislike for coconut. It consists of a Financier which is an Eurasian moist cake of semolina and ground almonds laced with brandy, Kueh Ko Sui which is a steamed cake made with pandan and coconut infused rice and tapioca flour coated with freshly grated coconut, Kueh Dah Dah which is grated coconut cooked with gula melaka syrup and coconut milk wrapped in a pancake, BuBur Cha Cha Panna Cotta which is coconut panna cotta topped with sweet potato, yam, agar agar, gula melaka syrup and Kueh Lapis which is a multilayered steamed cake. Needless to say, I took an arbitrary bite of most of the food and didn't finish. The Financier and Kueh Lapis were my favourites in this tier but of course I'm biased.

The overall experience dining at Violet Oon (Ion) has been great. Despite not liking nonya food, I enjoyed my time there. It might be interesting to note that the overall dining crowd were relatively sophisticated and you can tell most of them enjoy the finer things in life. There's even a guy who sat next to me who was dressed in plain white t-shirt and FBT shorts with slippers. I reckon his house is walking distance and this is probably his 'Ya Kun'. I guess it's no surprise that Violet Oon (Ion) just got featured on Tatler Singapore days before I visited. So if you want to know how Crazy Rich Asians look like, you might want to have a meal there.

Violet Oon (Ion)
Ion Orchard, #03-28/29, 2 Orchard Turn, S238801