Thursday, January 27, 2011

Boon Lay Raja @ Jurong East

Located Level 2 of Block 135, it is directly opposite of Jurong East MRT station, walk across the sheltered walkway, reach traffic light, cross the road and you will see NTUC Fairprice. Walk to the left of NTUC, pass by all the small shops and turn right to access the stairs or lift to Level 2. The lift opens directly infront of the restaurant.

Yesterday, we saw the place was 80-90%  full at about 8pm. I actually thought they had a wedding going on! It was my second visit to the place. The first time, it was rather quiet on a weekday night with probably only 30% occupied. The atmosphere yesterday was rather rowdy. With tables and tables of people eating, chatting and drinking beer.

We ordered crispy chicken, deep fried baby squids, claypot tofu (with roast pork) and a braised pork (南排). We were in a party of 4 adults and 2 young children.

deep fried baby squid

crispy chicken

claypot tofu

braised pork

The crispy chicken has became the de-facto dish to order. The kids loved it! The braised pork was rather lean, and it looked like dong po rou. Liked the vege that came together with the meat. Rather sweet. Baby squids were really tiny, and after leaving it out on the table for some time, it got rather hard to bite.

The meal costs about $68.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

L'Operetta @ Boat Quay

Located nearer to Riverwalk, and furthest from UOB Plaza. There is an open air carpark nearby the place across the road.

The restaurant was not hard to find as it is situated next to Superbowl (大碗粥). Yes, the decor is of opulence but not overly so. It has an air of elegance, and yet a certain masculinity in it. Well, partly because my table view is directly into the kitchen where one can see about 5 strapping males working! I spied a lady in there as well.

First thought upon entering the restaurant was that it felt like walking into a well-to-do friend's home. There was a homely vibe to the place, as the owner can be seen entertaining guests like old friends.

table setting

First saw about the wood fired oven pizza from ieatishootipost blog, hence we were keen to try. Ordered 2 types of pizza; pescatora (squid and prawns pizza tomato base) and a cream base pizza (ham, cheese with basil). The pizza is about 10inch in size, so two of these is just probably enough to fuel the fire for more food in our hungry tummies. So, we ordered pasta as well. Squid ink pasta, kurobuta pasta and fettucine with prawns with subtle curry flavor.

First up, was the pescatora pizza.


deliciously fresh squids and prawns

My first time trying any wood oven fired pizza. Appearance wise, it looked like a naan with toppings. The dough was slightly chewy, bendable and light bitter tasting. Pescatora pizza has just tomato sauce, fresh squids and prawns, sans cheese. Very mild, and pleasing taste. The seafood was delish! Springy squid and crunchy prawns. It just screams fresh.

simple and refreshing

Next up, was the ham and cheese pizza. There should be a more glamorous name to it, but the receipt is not with me, and I didn't order this, so that's that.

pizza with ham and cheese

It was the fragrance of the cheese that captivated the senses first. Not much of a looker, and appearance wise, very plain. But it sure was tasty! I loved the cheese. However, the midpart of the pizza looked a little undercooked.
simple decadence

The dishes here do come, one by one. Probably to allow us to savour the individual taste of each item. After finishing two pizzas, we were still hungry for more. Next, was the kurobuta pasta.

This dish was a nice looking one. Colorful in splashes of yellow, red and green. Robust flavours; from the burst of tanginess of the tomatoes, the meaty flavour of the tender pork and subtleness of the herbs. Yums.

kurobuta pasta
The pasta tasted somewhat like an al-dente udon. Its shape are also irregular making it having a very handmade feel to it. It is good. Springy, chewy texture coated with flavours.

The restaurants also has a drinks list for diners to choose. We opted for the more ordinary, iced water.

iced water

Next, was the curry flavoured fettucine with prawns. A friend commented that it tasted like twisties albeit in a good way. In my opinion, it is a likeable taste. Unusual for pasta, but it works. The fettucine here is softer, and each strand brings a delightful infusion of flavors into the mouth.

attacking with gusto!

delicious morsels of seafood

Our order of squid ink pasta arrived last even though the order was placed before the curry flavoured additional order. Hmmm.

Nevertheless, this dish is worthy of the wait. Dark, and mysterious and beckoning us to taste. The taste of the sea. Every slurp, was lip smackingly good. Just don't smile for the camera when eating this!

squid ink pasta
can you tell where the pasta ends and the squid begins?

Service crew were immaculate, and plates were changed every now and then. Enjoyable experience indeed. There were alot more pizza flavors on the menu, but we cannot possibly try all of it in one sitting! Would love to come back someday for the funghi pizza.

For dessert, we were told that currently, they only serves dessert of the day. And for that day, they were having a dessert trio that comprises of tiramisu, pineapple tart and yuzu sorbet @$15++, and comes with complimentary coffee/tea/latte/cappucino. Feeling adventurous, we ordered one to end our meal.

dessert of the day

First impression of the dessert, "Gosh, that is really tiny!". Hahaa. Tiramisu is foamy and can taste slight bitterness. Pineapple tart was very sweet. Yuzu sorbet was mild and refreshing. I think I'd go for a regular sized tiramisu if they had one.

yuzu sorbet

Enjoyable experience, good food and good service. We spent approximately $36 per pax for the dinner.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Hooked On Heads @ Sin Ming Plaza

Located at Sin Ming Plaza, the place was fairly empty when we visited on Friday at about before 8pm. Thought the name of the restaurant sounded morbid...but of course, 'heads' here are referring to fish heads (I think, I hope!)

dark furniture

The restaurant has a nice homely feel to it, but I felt that the airconditioning was quite strong.

logo on menu

So we ordered curry fish head (half @ $22) and one small he zhor (deep fried prawn with meat). For drinks, we had premium calamansi, orange juice and fruit punch (@$3 each). There's buffet option (minimum 4 person) at $21.80 per pax. That's cheaper than half a fish head!

our colourful drinks calamansi, fruit punch and orange juice

curry fish head (half)
fish head
he zhor

he zhor inside view
nice belachan

The fish head curry was not bad, but it wasn't wow. There's the usual assortment of lady's fingers and tomatoes (but no brinjals?). Curry was thick and tangy. The he zhor tasted quite different from what I used to eat way back in the late '80s. The version here tasted more like ngoh hiong, and its filling include water-chestnut bits. The he zhor that I was used to, tend to be darker colored balls with dense minced meat filling. Oh well, times has changed.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Itacho Sushi @ ION Orchard (Part 2)

Revisited on 15 Jan 2011 (Saturday), and already there was a short queue at 5pm. Who eats dinner this early? Apparentlty many. Waited for about 10-15 minutes before we got our seats.

color coded ordering sheets

Ordering is via the color-coded (and also paged numbered) ordering sheets similar to some dim sum joints. The place was fairly busy, and we were quickly asked whether we would like to have hot/cold green tea (refillable). Note that for all orders of min. $10 and above (per pax), towel and tea charges are waived.

table setting
After handling the order sheets to the service staff, she will repeat the items and inform the customer whichever that is not available. Our orders arrived fairly quickly.

fatty tresus keenae (bamboo clam) and fatty yellow tail sushis
yummy fatty hamachi

As usual, I MUST order hamachi (yellow tail) sushi, so this time round, I tried the fatty yellow tail ($2.70). The oil is just nice and firm to bite. Heavenly when dipped with a little wasabi and soy sauce.

salmon spring roll

Salmon spring roll tasted light and refreshing, but it's pricey @$3.

green tea soba
roasted fatty salmon, roasted mackerel and sea salt scallop
juicy, plump scallop
roasted mackerel
roasted fatty salmon
flying fish roe with cheese warship (don't ask me why it's called warship)
roasted eel (which we were told was not available but it magically appeared!)
zaru shell sushi (crunchy!)
baby abalone warship
roasted saury and surf clam sushi

tasty saury

binchou tuna

Out of all the 17 items ordered, I only ate 6 pieces of sushi + half of salmon spring roll, which adds up to about $12+. The rest were devoured by my dining companion!

The scallop (with sea salt), fatty yellow tail, zaru shell and roasted saury are recommended.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

The Fat Cat Bistro @ Jalan Riang

The Fat Cat Bistro was featured in a popular local magazine recently, so we were inspired to try a new place for our weekly dinner. From Lorong Chuan MRT (meeting point), drive along the road and turn right into Jalan Girang. After which, at the next first turning, turn into another part of Jalan Girang again (the signboard says it's that road name....), after which drive straight and, turn right into Jalan Riang. The place is bright and chirpy and easily recognizable.

table settings and bar view

They have 3 food partners; Thai Yai (Thai food), Tiffin (North Indian food) and Flamin' Grills (western). We ordered naan and mutton curry from Tiffin, and the rest are mostly from Flamin' Grills. Didn't get anything from Thai Yai, because we just had Thai food last week. Happy hour (or as they call it, puuurfect hour) ends at 730pm (weekday). So make your drinks order from The Fat Cat Bar, pronto!

I had the Long Island Tea ($12 after happy hour, $10 during). Suffice to say, it gave me enough buzz for that one hour.

Long Island Tea
colourful cutlery basket
mutton curry

The mutton curry was flavorful and the meat fork tender. Enjoyable, flavorful, not very spicy and not too oily. Served with pappadum as well.

For the meat main course from Flamin' Grills, it is served with 2 complements (side dish). We chose baby carrots, broccoli, mashed potato, baked potato and french fries. My friends had grilled chicken and grilled dory fish.

grilled dory with baby carrots and mashed potato
grilled chicken with huge broccoli, and baked potato

Though the baby carrots were sweet, I didn't like it because it was rather soggy and limp. We were quite surprised by the broccoli, certainly a very generous portion of vege!

My striploin came last. It looked good. Thick cut of meat, served with cream spinach and french fries.

striploin steak, medium rare

looked juicy from the outside
cream spinach

But the first sign of trouble, was the difficulty in cutting through the meat. The doneness was also uneven as some parts are medium and other parts more rare than medium rare. As a result, the meat was very chewy. Hence, when the friendly kitchen staff came to enquire, this was feedback accordingly. Immediately, he asked if I would like to have the dish changed. I declined and told him to just take it as a feedback for improvement.

But I think he went back to the kitchen to report to his boss and soon, another gentleman came over to understand the issue, and to offer an explanation. Once more, he too kindly offered a replacement order. I wanted to decline again, as I had already finished 60-70% of the dish but he kindly insisted that I should get a better experience from my visit. He offered to change it to ribeye, as he assured me that this cut would be more tender. I was impressed by their generosity and swiftness in handling a customer feedback. =)

The ribeye fared better, and it was also gentler to the jaw. I liked the cream spinach, as it was soft (but not too mushy) and healthy tasting. Generous portions as well. Another thing worth mentioning, was that the friendly Flamin' Grill staff came by again to check if I was happy with the meat. Certainly made me feel cared for as a customer. Keep up the good service!

For desserts, we had the chocolate lava cake with a scoop of vanilla ice-cream. Sweet ending to our meal. Overall, an enjoyable experience and a good place to chill. The prices are certainly wallet friendly. We paid about $23 per pax (incl. of 1 alcoholic drink)
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