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