Saturday, February 25, 2012

The Merry Men @ 86 Robertson Quay

Located at Robertson Quay, this place is quite near EM by the River (separated by a short underpass looking pathway). If you're at The Quayside, just walk towards Filter and EM, and abit more up after EM, and you should be able to find the place.

Made a reservation prior to visit ('coz it's a Friday!) but unfortunately, they lost the reservation. Not sure why also. So waited for a while, and they managed to get a table for my friends who were there early. I actually lost my way, so only managed to join them at 8pm.

We chose outdoor seats, facing the river view. They have three types of beer on draught, but my friends were quite taken with Mac's Great White Cloudy Wheat beer (New Zealand). We also got the Asahi Happy Hour promo of buy 3 bottles and get 1 free.

Asahi Happy Hour
super dry
everyone seems to be a pure blonde
except for one on our table, who got a red rock

I  chose a cider drink. They have Kopparberg Strawberry and Elderflower (from Sweden). Tried both and liked both. Elderflower is more refreshing while strawberry flavoured ones reminds me of those strawberry lollipop with swirls of pink. Nice.

lovely sweet strawberry cider, yums

light and refreshing

Food. We need food! Ordered a squid ink pasta (tagliatelle), bangers and mash and half dozen buffalo wings to share.

squid ink pasta

The squid ink pasta here can be described in one word: minimalist. Really. Just pasta, a few prawns (3 pieces) and some cherry tomatoes. That's it. Tasted like olive oil and a little sourish (probably from a dash of lime, or something).

tagliatelle and prawn

My friends voted the pasta as the best dish for our table. The bangers and mash is most expensive dish amongst our order, @$24 for 2 pieces of plump looking sausages, 2 pieces of onion rings, some mashed potatoes, a handful of greens and some shrooms. That's it. Ok ok, of course one of the sausage was a Kurobuta "Toulouse" and the darker one, a wagyu beef sausage.

bangers and mash
two types of sausages: Kurobuta "toulouse" and wagyu beef

I think I prefer the kurobuta. Oh, wait. I only had one slice of the wagyu 'coz it was eaten up by the rest of my friends. No wonder, I only remembered the pork sausage.... We were hungry.

The buffalo wings, tasted like fusion. A little bit coconut'ey on its red sauce and it tasted good with the blue cheese dip. But the wings 'aint juicy though.

buffalo wings with blue cheese dip

closer view

The good thing about this place is, all prices are nett. No gst, service charge whatsoever. The service crew were quite friendly, and our orders were taken quite promptly as soon as they're able to come by. Opens till 2am on Friday nights. Chill and relax with close friends.

we had 2 jugs of Great White (@$36 per jug and serves about 4 glasses), so drink up drink up!

There were four of us and we spent about $50 per pax. Currently, if paying via OCBC credit card, you'll get 10% off.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

The Rotisserie @ China Square Food Centre

Located at Telok Ayer Street. Visited on a weekday night and indoor seats were speckled with patrons. Plenty of outdoor seats unoccupied. My friend has been raving about this place since maybe forever, so guess that's enough reason to warrant a visit.

There are menu boards at the cashier, as well as near the big table towards the back of the shop. It's generally self-service, so order and pay at the cashier first, then go towards the food area to collect your order. The prices listed on board are nett price. From observation, most people who were there that night, had chicken.

tables for large groups
nearer to the back of the shop
paper napkin

For the sake of variety, I had the pork knuckles (half portion @$16), and a glass of Yalumba Sauvignon Blanc (@$7). My friend, of course, got her all time favourite de-facto quarter chicken (@$10) and a pot of Pearl of the Orient tea (@$4).

hey, who drank my wine? nah..'twas no one, it just came in this size

One can choose either the hot side dish or the cold side dish. The hot side dishes options are mashed potato, corn, peas or cauliflower. The cold side dishes include coleslaw, potato salad, pasta, and rocket leaves with basil and cherry tomatoes.

I had the potato salad and rocket leaves for my sides, and my friend had cauliflower, mashed potato and corn. Yeap, apparently one can choose not two but three sides from the hot counter.

pork knuckles (half) with potato salad and rocket leaves drizzled with balsamic vinegar
closer view

You'll get a whole lot of meat (and fats as well) with that half portion of knuckles. Unfortunately, the skin wasn't crackling that night, and the amount of meat was just a little too much for me. Perhaps, it'll be better if it can be shared but my friend was just not interested in pork knuckles. She was totally focused on the chicken. I got a little 'jelak' after a while of chewing through half the meat.

On its own, the pork knuckles were kinda juicy. Its meat solid and chewy and can be considered tender (not meltingly soft tender though). But still had some difficulty cutting the meat at times using the butter knife due to the fats surrounding the meat.

The Yalumba wine was light and provided some respite from the heaviness of the meat. Oh, and don't forget the mustard. That too gave it some variety in taste.

quarter chicken with mashed potato, corn and cauliflowers

tender chicken

My friend really loves the chicken. She has declared that she'll be back in two weeks time to eat this again. I had a bite of it, and the chicken meat was fork tender but the skin was a little salty though. Nice and a quarter chicken with that much of side dish can last you a long way, and all that for just $10. Probably, that's the draw.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

The House of Robert Timms @ Wheelock Place Part II

Revisited again on a Thursday night for a post-dinner coffee and some dessert. The place was still lively even though it was already past 10pm.

coffee menu and cakes on display

Ordered the sticky date pudding, one hazelnut latte and a piccolo latte.

sticky date pudding
closer view

Our order of sticky date pudding came pretty fast. It was served warm and with vanilla ice-cream that has a sprinkling of raisins. The warm and soft texture of the cake was nice. More sauce would be nicer too. The ice-cream was a tad too sweet for me.

cute bunny in my cup of piccolo latte

According to Wiki, piccolo latte is also known as caffe macchiato or 'espresso stained with milk'. It's a small small cup. Tasted thick, milky and slightly bitter. Had a taste of the hazelnut latte and it was really fragrant and very milky.

can you bear to drink this? heh heh

Total costs was about $26.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Yakitori Enmaru 焼鳥 炎丸 @ ION Orchard

Located at Level 4 of ION Orchard. Went on a weekday evening before 8pm and there wasn't as much of a crowd. Mostly walk-in customers.


There are two small boards outside that shows the Happy Hour offerings; with $5 Tiger beer from 5pm-7pm, and selected shochu at $5 per glass from till 5pm - 8pm. What's an izakaya without a drink or two right? Happy hours like these made it all sweeter.


Once seated, an order for shochu (can't resist a good offer!) was quickly placed, and upon recommendation from the friendly and helpful service crew, we had the Tomino Hozan (Imo), a sweet potato shochu served on the rocks (or can opt for with soda).

Tomino Hozan, on the rocks

The Tomino from Kagoshima prefecture has a well-rounded light and clear taste, with a tingle of sweetness. Smooth on the tongue. High on alcohol content at 25%. Wheeee~

Otoshi (appetizer) is served here, free of charge. It's a simple dish of raw cabbage and a spoonful of miso paste. Crunchy vege with natural sweetness made tastier by the miso.


Ordered the Ibushi Yaki, a shop specialty. Small pieces of chicken meat grilled, licked and smoked by high flames. The open kitchen allows customers to catch glimpse of charged up fire sizzling the meat whenever this order is prepared. Served on a hotplate with cabbages and with a small dash (on a separate small dish) of grated wasabi mixed with radish (wasn't really paying attention when the service crew was describing it) but it was pretty salty.

Ibushi Yaki (sorry for the messed up picture, was trying not to get the camera melted by the intense heat)
close-up view of Ibushi Yaki and cooked cabbage

It's somewhat different from expectation (in terms of appearance and taste) but still liked its smokiness and was pretty juicy and tasty too. Perhaps, it's the idea of how it was cooked that gave it its novelty.

One thing about this place is that when a skewered item is ordered, it must be in pairs. Meaning, if you want to eat buta bara, it must be ordered as 2 sticks. "So how if you're eating alone?" My friend asked. Hmm...I guess eat two of the same thing? Or order the 5 kinds yakitori and you'll get 5 different types of skewered items which changes on a daily basis. Do ask the friendly service crew if you'd like.

The person who took our order (a young helpful chap) was really patient and can rattle off recommendations should you need any. We ordered wagyu harami (beef outside skirt, one done rare and the other stick done medium), shishito (Japanese variety of capsicum that looks like peppers), tsukune oroshi (chicken balls), and buta bara (pork belly).

shishito, high in vitamin C
buta bara
wagyu harami (medium)
wagyu harami (rare)
closer view of wagyu harami (done rare)

The shishito tasted natural (think it was unsalted, though not sure if that's intentional or not), and it's like a distant cousin of capsicum but definitely can taste the resemblance of flavour.

Buta bara (pork belly) was really quite lean and gives a chewy bite. The wagyu harami was tender for both doneness but I liked it rare. It was considerably light flavoured as well. Less salt is good.

tsukune oroshi (chicken meatballs with grated radish)

The tsukune or chicken meatballs were good. Tasty. Actually this dish and the ibushi yaki gets the vote of being the more stronger tasting items out of all the items that we ordered.

Total bill came up to around $65 for 2 pax.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Lai Lai Casual Dining @ Jurong Point

Located at B1 of the shopping centre, this is the area where everyone who goes up by the nearby escalator can peep down at you while you eat. The shop has two sections; the 'outer' section where the sun shines on your table in the afternoons or the 'inner' section where it is more enclosed but sometimes there are flies flying around.

paper napkin with cute logo

Not wanting the sun, my bro and I chose the inner section. They have lunch sets of between $12.50++ to above $13++. The set comes with a pre-selected main dish (either rice or noodles), a side dish (choose from a limited selection) and a drink (milk bubble tea). My brother chose the braised pork rice (卤肉饭) set with red milk tea, and a side dish of braised pork knuckles (boneless). I had an ala-carte order of taiwanese rice vermicelli with pig intestines (面线with猪大肠).

our orders
braised pork rice served with braised egg, peanuts and and preserved vege

My brother seemed to enjoy his rice. He's the one that has been to Taiwan, so he said it was pretty authentic.

rice vermicelli with intestines

The mian xian (rice vermicelli) served here, was just alright. Not outstanding. The vinegar wasn't as tasty as another shop that I always patron at Lot 1 CCK. Thankfully, the intestines was as tender as it ought to be.

The star dish of the day? The braised boneless pork knuckles!

not much of a looker, but taste yummy~

Thin slivers of melt in your mouth fats and meat. It literally dissolves on your tongue. Ok, it was pretty oily and a little too salty as well. Hahaa!

red milk bubble tea

The bubble tea tasted pretty nostalgic. This was the taste that accompanied us during our university days and then some. By us... I really meant the oldies. Nowadays, I don't really care much about 'powdered' bubble milk tea. Give me the more natural tea taste with foamy slight saltish milk foam on top. Yums.

There was a 10% discount on ala-carte items if paying via DBS/POSB credit card. All in all, we paid $21 (incl. of taxes and after discount) for two pax.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Etna Italian Restaurant and Pizzeria @ Upper East Coast Road

Located at 110 Upper East Coast Road. There are bus stops nearby (#14 or #197 I think), so it is accessible via public transport. If driving, then turn into Tay Lian Teck Road and park by the roadside. Didn't see any parking places nearby. The restaurant is facing the main road and it is actually quite smallish.

Walking into the restaurant and we were greeted almost immediately. Warm and friendly service. The place felt quite cosy too.

bar and cashier

table setting

My friends arrived earlier, so they've already started on the bruschetta al pomodoro. Mr R has a thing for bruschetta...

bruschetta al pomodoro (toasted bread topped with fresh tomatoes and garlic)

Bruschetta is such a simple thing that it is not difficult to replicate at home. The version here was tasty as well.

Next item that was ordered, Insalata di Gamberi (prawns salad).

Insalata di Gamberi (prawn salad dressed with extra virgin olive oil and lemon)

The salad has a light clean taste. Prawns were fresh and bouncy. Nice but was rather mild in taste when compared to the bruschetta.

lovely prawns

We also had a bottle of white wine, the Montalto Pinot Grigio. It's pretty light and clean tasting. Crisp finish with fruity notes.

white wine (@$65++)
wine to sip

Realised that our dinner for the night had a recurrent theme; seafood and tomato based. We had Risotto alla Marinara (italian rice with mixed seafood and tomato sauce), Pizza Fruiti di Mare (tomato, mixed seafood and mozarella cheese), Linguine con Capesante (flat pasta with scallops in pink lobster sauce) and Filetto Maiale (baked pork wrapped with bacon in rosemary sauce).

risotto marinara

with squid, clams, prawns

We made the right choice with seafood. Liked the squids and the prawns. The risotto was lighter in taste than anticipated. The umami taste associated with seafood was kind of missing from the dish. Not the best risotto tasted thus far, but quite enjoyable. Generous portions too.

Next up, was the linguine.

Linguine con Capesante

large scallops

All of us liked the linguine very much. Very tasty and much stronger in flavour than the risotto. Had a hint of spice and the pasta was not undercooked. My friend was praising the freshness of the scallops but I had one that tasted kind of mushy. Hmm, maybe I ate the wrong part?

Next, was the seafood pizza. More carbo!

Fruitti di Mare

with large squid rings, unpitted olives, mussels and prawns

The pizza crust was nice with slightly (very slightly) chewy dough, crisp edges and loaded with mozzarella cheese. Best eaten by taking the pizza slice, fold it and use hand (fingers) to hold it. Give it a hearty bite and feel the cheese and seafood come together. Hahaa, not fine dining material or prescribed behaviour, but I liked it! Ok, but not sure why the prawns still had its tail shell retained...Aesthetically pleasing but abit harder to eat.

We're done with carbo, so out came the protein (meat).

pork fillet with bacon

It's three chunk of pork wrapped in bacon and baked, served with brown sauce with a bed of greens and mashed potatoes. Interesting dish and first time having this in an Italian restaurant.

It's like pork knuckles minus the fats (if you discount the wrapped bacon slice). Not melt in your mouth tender, but not chewy either. It was just nice. The sauce has just a slight sourness to it. A dish that had a hint of homecooked flavour to it.

Service crew were pretty attentive and will pop by to ask about the food, anything else that we need or to just pour out the wine to our empty glasses. Nice.

And because it was a birthday dinner, the service crew sang the happy birthday song when the cake was brought out. Hehe. Thank you to the restaurant for allowing us to bring our own cake.

fruit tart/cake from Fruit Paradise

There's a 15% discount on food items (excluding alcohol) if you're paying via Standard Chartered credit card. For 5 pax, order just 1 or 2 starters, 4 main courses and it'll be more than enough food for everyone. Needless to say, we were stuffed from dinner and the cake. Expect to pay between $50~$60 per pax for a 3 course meal.
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