Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Exploring Hong Lim Food Center @ Upper Cross Street

Best to come during non-peak hours as the queue starts to form around 20 minutes before noon. By 12pm, the lunch crowd are all in. Or, anytime just right after 10am would be good for a leisurely breakfast. Nearest MRT would be Chinatown station. Along with Kris (@msginginly) and Jen (@jellylovefats), we had decided to order our foods from selected stalls at Level 2. Each of us picked one stall to order from. Jen's choice was the Outram Park Fried Kway Teow Mee (#02-17), Kris selected the Mee Siam from Sungei Road Trishaw Laksa (#02-66) and mine were fromTuck Kee Ipoh Sar Hor Fun (#02-40) and Ah Heng Curry Chicken Bee Hoon Mee (#02-57/58).

Be prepared to queue for about 20 to 40 minutes, depending on the popularity of the stall. On the weekday of our visit, the fried kway teow stall had the longest queue.

Outram Park Fried Kway Teow @$4.50
Fruit Juice Mee Siam with Crayfish @$6.00
Crayfish and Prawns Ipoh Sar Hor Fun @$8.00 (additional $1 for chicken shreds)
Ah Heng Curry Chicken Bee Hoon Mee @$4.50

The char kway teow was moist and carried the distinct flavour of lard. The cockles were fresh albeit a tad tiny. As usual, the char kway teow has a sweetish hint and that delightful smokey flavour.The fruit juice mee siam was refreshing and has an undiscernible taste that made one wonders which fruit(s) was used.

The strands of sar hor fun was smooth and the broth was pleasantly mild in flavour. Liked that the seafood was of a good size. Added some chicken shreds as that matches really well with the hor fun. Also liked that this plate of hor fun had some greens in it. A more balanced meal.

Ah Heng Curry Chicken Bee Hoon Mee has a comforting broth that wasn't spicy. Lots of taupok (fried beancurd skin), few pieces of fishcake and chicken breast meat. Had expected more from this bowl.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Nabe Seizan 鍋 @ Japan Food Town Wisma Atria

Nabe Seizan is the offshoot of Seizan, a 2-Michelin star establishment in Tokyo. While Seizan is a kaiseki restaurant, Nabe Seizan 鍋 specializes in Japanese hotpot. Its prices are rather steep and the staff informed that their strength is in the dashi. Other than that, Seizan also offers mabushi during lunch time. What's a mabushi? It's a variant of hitsumabushi which is an eel rice dish enjoyed 3-ways. For mabushi, it is other protein (usually beef) enjoyed two-ways; as it is and with dashi and condiment.

Currently, they are having Agu Pork Mabushi during weekday lunch only. Decided to give it a try since I was around the area. The Ohmi Wagyu beef mabushi is available everyday during lunch hour.


Discovered that the restaurant is pretty smallish but liked that the tables are adequately apart. There was only another table occupied during that day of visit. Service staff (non-Japanese) were earnest and friendly.

complimentary tea

It was only a short wait before the food was served.Was informed that the dashi is refillable.

Agu Pork Mabushi Set @$25++

Agu Pork

Agu Pork is Okinawan pork and is similar to kurobuta. The slivers of meat was deliciously tender and flavourful. Enjoyable as it is.

There was a small dish of curious paste and it tasted like chicken rice chili paste. Asked the staff about it and she mentioned that usually the sauce would be provided during dinner time to enjoy with the hotpot as a dip. Queried on whether the chili paste was requested by local customers but the staff clarified that it was actually concoted by their Japanese chef, Mr Yamamoto. Perhaps Chef Yamamoto was inspired by our chicken rice?

Chef Yamamoto 'chicken rice' chili paste

Next, one could enjoy the rice with the dashi. The soup was clear and lightly flavoured. Pleasantly mild and the chili paste helped to give a different dimension to the taste.

Style 2 - eaten with dashi

Topped up the lunch set with a dessert. It was a pudding dessert called wasanbon. While wasanbon refers to the fine grained sugar, the pudding has milk and fruits in it and topped with chopped white wine jelly.

wasanbon 和三盆 @$5++

The pudding was very likeable. Soft like tofu with reasonable sweetness. The fruits were pear and peach and the white wine jelly was good. The white wine jelly matches with the pudding.


Expect the spend about $30 to $50 per pax during lunch time and double of that during dinner time.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Ninja Cut @ 32 Seah Street

Eat healthy? Yes, we can at Ninja Cut. Plenty of choices too. Got ourselves a #CrispyGoals and Squid Fix to share. Each of these comes with an onsen egg ontop and no carbs. You could top up for quinoa, soba, rice or garden greens.

the way of the Ninja(Cut)
yummy looking
Sparkling Orange Espresso @$7
The sparkling orange espresso was rather nice. A wake-me-up thirst quencher on a hot day.

#CrispyGoals @$14

Was expecting a more crackly pork belly but it ain't so. Nevertheless, I enjoyed the large pieces of sio bak in this place even though there were some that were too tough on its edges. Couldn't taste the miso in the cucumber but it was enjoyable. More so than the beets. Ugh, the raw taste of beets should only exist in ABC juice.

Squid Fix @$18
Can't help but to stare that bit longer at the plate of gorgeous squid. Tender and yummy. Favourite amongst these two. Similar ingredients as the pork belly except it has honey-glazed carrots in lieu of the beets (yay!). The squid has a nice smokey flavour and it tasted just right.

tuck in

If you're going to check-in here often, do get its lunch card. Terms and conditions applies.

Ninja Cut lunch card

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Songfa Bak Kut Teh 松發肉骨茶 @ JEM

It was dinner with family and all had arrived except me. The good thing about that, was that I got to arrive at a table full of food! Hahaa! Songfa @ JEM is located at the basement level (same level as NTUC Fairprice) and at the Watson side.

feeds a family of 5 adults
When having bak kut teh, it is essential to have tea. So out came the tiny teapot with equally tiny tea cups. Kind of felt like 'masak-masak' if you asked me.

tea set
Not sure which tea goes well with the pork ribs, but the Jasmine tea that we had gotten was pretty good since the flavour had intensified into the small pot.

superior grade jasmine

Hmm, since we didn't know how to 'execute' the tea making, there was help from the service staff. She patiently demonstrated the way. If you asked me now, I can't remember the steps but roughly its about warming the teapot and teacups and to pour away the first pour.

tea making
washing the cups?

Having had many bak kut teh in my lifetime, I must commend that Songfa pork ribs were quite good. Tender and flavourful. The white pepper soup was not too overpowering too. No need to get the premium ribs as the normal ones were already quite good.

The intestines were also not bitter so that was a plus point. The vegetables were done well with it being crunchy and not overly cooked. The kidneys were a tad too tough but it was washed nicely without any funky smell. Surprisingly, the soup of the pigs stomach was a tad spicier than the pork ribs soup though both should've came from the same soup pot. Just don't choke on the soup like me.

do you like kidney?
pork ribs

If you're a lover of garlic, Songfa seemed pretty generous as our bowls of pork ribs and stomach had quite a lot of those. Cooked till soft and not pungent, these were pretty good snacks and probably good for our health too.

Overall, we had enjoyed our meal at Songfa Bak Kut Teh.

Songfa Bak Kut Teh

Location:  JEM #B1-09, 50 Jurong Gateway Road, Singapore 608549
Website: https://www.songfa.com.sg/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/songfabkt/

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Hoppy Bar ホッピーバー @ Icon Village

There's The Public Izakaya by Hachi and there's Hoppy Bar. Physically, both are just opposite one another and by the same parent company. Hoppy Beer (bottled) is available at both joints. There's differentiation in food offered, and you can't cross-order. If you want kick-ass sized tori karaage, that'll be Public Izakaya.

There's counter seats where one needs to remove shoes, or bar seats and alfresco seats where one need not. The bar area was rather warm and so was the outdoor area.

Liked the decor of the place and service staff were friendly and more than happy to make recommendations on drinks and food.

bar seats view
Started with lemon chu-hi, which is a simple shochu lemon soda mix. Friend had draft beer.

Suntory Kaoru Premium (@$9.80++) and Lemon Chu-hi (@$10++)

For food, we tried the beef stew, an ebi mayo and some yakitori. The beef stew was served with some toasts. The bread was crisp and fluffy, and we used it to mop up the stew. The majority of the beef was too tough and that was disappointing. However, the flavour of the stew was thick and good with a touch of spice.

The bartender handed us a plate of edamame and said, "As a service." Lovely gesture to surprise guests with complimentary food. Later, we observed that a guest who came later and was seated next to us, was given complimentary fries.

ビフシチュ(beef stew) @$13++
scoop it up
The Ebi Mayo turned out to be one large fried shrimp, served with an onsen egg. The waitress advised us to break the egg and use it as a dip. Hmm, ok but rather unnecessary as the prawn was already doused with a substantial amount of creamy mayo.

Ebi Mayo @$11++

Next was our assortment of yakitori. The chicken heart was super tender and yums.

ハツ (chickcen heart) @$4++
レバ(chicken liver) @$4.50++
カワ(chicken skin) @$4++
ブタミズナ (enoki bacon) @$5++

Overall, expect to spend about $35+ per pax for a drink and some food.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

[Media Invite] Carol Mel Cafe @ The Commerze @ Irving Place

Have you been to Carol Mel Cafe? It's a small cosy cafe located near Tai Seng MRT, or rather specifically at a building called The Commerze somewhere alobng Irving Place. It was quite hard to find if you are coming by cab as there are ongoing construction at the front of the road.

lunch menu
The last time that I was there, we had the Whimsical Waffles and that, was the best waffles that I ever had! However, they weren't producing anymore of those so, it was a bit sad then.

Was invited for a tasting recently and sampled more of their dishes, plus The Signature Whimsical Waffles is making its comeback. Yay! Wait. Did you know that that there's no GST nor service charge imposed on diners at Carol Mel Cafe? Now you know.

To start, you might want to get the fried chicken (mid) wings with maple syrup or the salted egg luncheon fries. Both were well fried and its exterior remained crispy throughout the meal. But of course, the mid-wings were polished off in no time. I liked it without the syrup.

The salted egg yolk luncheon fries were so addictive! None of those skinny nonsense. The ones here were thick and meaty.

Chicken Wings with Maple Syrup @$9
Salted Egg Luncheon Fries @$12 (handmodel cr: @damien_tc)

If the weather is super hot and if you feel like having cold noodles, why not try the Rakuzen Cold Pasta? Imagine chilled angel hair, thoroughly tossed in a refreshing dressing of wasabi yuzu soy, and plenty of seafood accompaniment such as mussel, prawns surimi and smoked salmon with a bit of ikura thrown in. Yummy.

Rakuzen Cold Pasta @$18 

Ah, but for meatatarians, you prefer pasta with something more substantial? How about the Signature Braised Lamb Shank with aglio olio? Personally, I felt that it was a tad too much for a female to handle the entire plate, so best to share it with your bffs. There's 450 gm of slow braised flavourful lamb shank in red wine sauce, served with seasonal vegetables and pepperish aglio olio pasta. I don't think anyone would still be hungry after having this mammoth of a plate.

Signature Braised Lamb Shank @$26

For the more dainty us, we tried the Buttermilk Waffle Curry Chicken Katsu with melted cheese and the French Confit Du Canard.

The Japanese curry was lighter than expected and has a sweet savoury tinge. Liked the salad to balance out the meaty quotient in this dish. The duck confit was firm and meaty with crisp skin. Plus point for not being too oily! Liked mine with the sauce. The butter potato mash was enjoyable too!

Buttermilk Waffle Curry Chicken Katsu with Melted Cheese @$17
Duck Confit with Bordeux herb reduction @$18

And, for desserts, one could choose from the available cakes at the counter or its signature waffle. The cakes would vary depending one what the resident baker wanted to do for that day. On the day of our visit, we had the Pandan Lychee Cake. It was so good yo! But can tone down on the sugar a bit. Very fragrant, light and moist.

Pandan Lychee Cake @$8.50 (handmodel cr: @singaporeliciouz)
Creme Brulee @$5 (or $6.50 for take-out)

But, the dessert that I was waiting for, make a guess. Why, it definitely was the Signature Whimsical Waffle, of course! Pretty looking, with lots of fruits, crispy buttermilk waffle that made that kruk kruk sound when cut, sharp cheddar cheese for some saltiness and ice-cream, of course for that sweetness plus pillowy grilled marshmallows for some contrast in texture.

Signature Whimsical Waffle @$16

Thank you Carol and Andy for having us at Carol Mel Cafe and Damien for the invite.

Please call ahead to make your reservations. Enjoy!

Carol Mel Cafe

Address: 1 Irving Place, Unit #01-30 The Commerze@Irving, Singapore 369546
Website: www.carolmel.com
Business Hours:
Mon to Sat 12noon to 9pm
Sun 11am - 4pm
Reservations: 66355755
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