Sunday, July 24, 2011

Sushi Tei @ Vivocity Part II

What do you think of, in summer? Breezy sunny day, with splashes of bright colours? I think of ayu fish because apparently Sushi Tei's summer menu features it. So off we went to Sushi Tei, in search of this fish that I've been wanting to try since Japan Hour days.

As usual, one need to wait to be seated during lunch hour at Sushi Tei Vivocity. The big menu displayed at its entrance listed out aji, unagi, sakura ebi and ayu fish as their featured items for the summer. Can't wait. Or so I thought.

We were seated at the corner of the restaurant where one can see the waters. Not bad. A seat with a view.

summer promotion menu

view from our seats

After a few minutes of deliberation, we were ready to order. Ordered the grilled ayu shioyaki and imagine the surprise when the waitress just shot back, "Not available." I must've worn quite a crestfallen look on my face and my colleague was quite symphatetique. "Next time better call the outlet before coming..." There was no where on its online menu, nor the printed menu nor the entrance menu that stated the inavailability of this item. Appalling, indeed.

With half the mood gone, I ordered the sakura ebi kakiage (@$6.80++), yaizu sushi set and my colleague ordered a garlic fried rice and salmon temaki.

sakura ebi kakiage with salt

tiny black dots for the eyes

a little too much flour?

The sakura ebi kakiage were pretty to look at. A bit tiny. And the waitress said, "Eat it with the salt." Ok. So I did. Tasted a little too floury, hence the ebi taste was quite muted. The salt did little to bring out the flavours. Maybe, they should use sea-salt or flavoured salt like matcha or ume.

salmon handroll

garlic fried rice

The garlic fried rice was tasty, served piping hot and it came with small chicken pieces. Nice, but my colleague preferred a more garlicky version.

yaizu set (@$16++)

My sushi set was colourful and it has uni sushi in it. Yay! First time I had it, they ran out of uni sushi, so it was replaced by chutoro. Nice. But it was always apprehensive to try uni because the first time I had it (elsewhere), it has a certain 'pong' taste to it.

uni sushi

The uni sushi here looked 'dryer' than the ones I had elsewhere. Maybe that's a good sign? Not plump nor juicy, but just smooth. No weird taste. In fact, it doesn't have much taste. Hmmmm.

The rest of the stuff were pretty run of the mill. But the ebi sushi that day tasted not as fresh. Maybe I should've eaten that first rather than uni.



This meal for two pax costs about $40+ in total, without using their wet towels (chargeable).

Before leaving the restaurant, I asked the waitress when will the ayu fish be available and was told, it would be available in August. I think it will be prudent to find out prior to visiting the restaurant, to avoid any surprises. Dear readers, feel free to tell me, if you ever get to taste the ever elusive ayu (at least for my case) whether it is nice.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Crystal Jade @ Toa Payoh

Was there for lunch. The place was bustling and we had to wait about 10 minutes to get a seat. This place has live seafood. Cool!

live seafood tank

After a while, we got our seats. Expect to sit near other patrons during lunch hour.

dim sum menu

We ordered flowy custard bun (my must order item in all places that serves it), mixed part porridge, roasted duck (my colleague insisted on having this!) and cheong fun with spicy shrimp paste. You will need to exercise a certain amount of patience while eating here. The service staff looked quite harrassed, and patrons were waiting for their dishes to arrive.


The porridge was smooth and can't see a single grain of rice in it. It has intestine, liver, meatballs and stomach and ironically, each ingredients came in pairs so, just nice for sharing amongst two pax? Hahaa.

roasted duck

crispy skin roasted duck

The roasted duck came with bones. I found that to be quite a hassle. It has nice crispy skin but I found the seasoning a tad too salty. Good to eat with the porridge though.

I was surprised to see a cheong fun that doesn't look like the usual cheong fun. I thought it was carrot cake instead.

cheong fun in disguise?

But the cheong fun was quite tasty. Nice and mildly spicy.

flowy custard bun


The flowy custard bun here was nice orange coloured balls of goodness. But the fillings were too watery. Tasted good though.

This meal costs about $36 for two pax.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Graze @ 38 Martin Road

Located at 38 Martin Road, this restaurant is very near Robertson Walk. Went there to celebrate the July babies birthdays. Liked the restaurant for allowing us to bring our own cake for the celebration.


opening hours

outside of the restaurant

We were greeted at the door by the friendly service crew (dressed in cute restaurant uniform). Next we were asked if we would like sparkling or still water. Neither. Tap water will do. And yes, this restaurant do serve tap water. Another plus point.

The restaurant has a nice ambiance. Think candlelight dinner.

candlelight dinner

interior, directly facing our section
drinks coaster


We ordered starters like wok seared calamari and chipolata and beef carpacio. For mains, we had lamb rump, sirloin steak, wagyu steak, salmon steak and seafood pasta. Noticed that the restaurant menu is different from its online menu. They were having a promotion for champagne where a bottle of veuve cliquot was going for $85++. So we had that as well.

complimentary bread

starters: beef carpacio (top) and wok seared calamari and chipolata (bottom)

We were served complimentary bread while waiting for our food to arrive. The bread was soft (at room temperature) and nice to eat with the tangy balsamic vinegar in olive oil. My friend commented that the beef carpacio here was one of the better ones that he had tried thus far. I liked the wok seared calamari as it was tender and nicely fragrant with the wok fire.

waiting for our champagne
cheers to the birthday girls

Noted that the food arrival was pretty slow paced. We had our mains 20 minutes after our starters.

seafood pasta

sirloin steak

salmon steak

lamb rump

I liked the seafood pasta. It has two good sized prawns, some clams and al-dente noodles. My friend commented that the noodles were a tad too dry.

The wagyu steak did not taste as tender as I envisioned. It has less fats marbling than I thought. Same for the sirloin steak. Chewy but not jaw-achingly so. Nicest part was the one with some fats. Liked the fries though. Served hot, with soft midpart. Pair it with tangy tartar with lemon. Yums!

Salmon steak was quite dry. I was disappointed with the lamb rump. The meat was a little too tough, and it was sitting atop of something foreign that I can't make out what it was. Did not like the taste too, unfortunately. The roasted cherry tomatoes were good though.

Service was commendable but unfortunately, expected more out of the food. The price is on the higher side. The restaurant online menu can be found here.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Fratini's Restaurant @ Gadong, Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei

Located next to The Centrepoint Hotel in Gadong, Bandar Seri Begawan. Stayed at the Centrepoint Hotel during a recent business trip, so we went to Fratini's for a quick lunch before proceeding to our customer's site. The free wifi at the restaurant proved useful because The Centrepoint Hotel charges for wifi usage.

restaurant's interior

There were few people in the restaurant that day. Probably about 3 tables occupied. The service crew were courteous.

table setting and menu

We ordered stuffed mushroom for starters and two pizzas to share. The pizza size is about 12-13 inches in diameter, according to the staff. We had the mediterranean pizza (meatless, for our vegetarian colleague) and a seafood pizza.

stuffed mushroom

I actually thought the stuffed mushroom would be looking something like a good sized portobello. Imagine my surprise when it came out looking, a little bit tiny (see the above pic).

closer view of stuffed mushroom

I must say, the stuffed mushroom was rather yums. Its stuffing was just cheese and herbs. Tasty!

bite-sized stuffed mushroom

The grilled zuchini tasted good as well. We doused the accompanying salad leaves with lots of balsamic vinegar and seasoned olive oil.

balsamic vinegar and chili-infused olive oil

mediterranean pizza
seafood pizza

The pizza were thin crusted version with crispy edge. It doesn't have loads of toppings but when eaten with the infused-olive oil, it tasted good! The friendly service crew will come by and asked if you'd like some pepper to go with the pizza.

huge kickass pepper grinder
seafood pizza close-up

mediterranean pizza slice

The meal was shared by four pax and the total bill came up to about $34 because they were having a promotion for pizzas at 40% off if you pay by cash.

Tampopo @ Liang Court Part II

Revisited Tampopo recently and it was as crowded as before. Walk-in customers may have to wait between 10 to 15 minutes on a weekend dinner. Get a queue number and wait. There is no electronic signboard to flash the queue number, so customers need to be somewhere nearby when the staff called out in their loud voices.

For this recent dinner, we ordered a tokusen ramen (added an extra egg because the ramen doesn't come with one), salmon belly and swordfish sashimi, saba fish and maki.

salmon belly and swordfish sashimi

luxurious salmon belly

doesn't the mekajiki look like cuttle fish?

The sashimi was fresh and enjoyable, especially the oily salmon belly. Yums! My friend prefers her swordfish though. Next, we had the piping hot ramen. Nice to warm our tummies on a cool night.

tokusen cha shiu ramen

yummy, tender cha shiu

I had tried ramen at Tampopo before and it was salty then. But luckily for this order, the ramen soup was alright. Liked the cha shiu. Nicely tender but still flavourful. If your bowl of ramen doesn't come with the egg, I would suggest to order one to try. But was a little surprised that it came as a one whole egg instead of halved.

it came like this

used my chopstick to cut it into this

The yolk was nicely savoury and not too runny. Nice.


it tasted of plum

saba fish

soft and oily

Ordered the maki to fill us up, and it did. Was quite stuffed after we devoured everything. The saba fish was not overcooked, so its flesh was still soft and oily.

This dinner for two costs about $72 in total.
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