Monday, October 29, 2018

Yi Dian Xin Hong Kong Dim Sum ( 一点心港式点心 ) @ Kovan

I love having dim sums. Dainty in bite-sized morsels (usually), easy to share plus there's variety. Ranging from steamed to deep fried and sometimes baked. A group of my friends wanted to meet up and someone suggested dim sum, so we Googled for one that is of a reasonable price. Yi Dian Xin was suggested and readily agreed.

We met on a weekend at about 11am and the coffeeshop was rather packed. Teo Seng Eating House (潮成餐室) is a smallish coffeeshop within walking distance from Kovan MRT. About 8 minutes walk.

stall front
various photos with artists / newspaper clippings

Yi Dian Xin is nearer towards the drinks stall. To order, one just need to fill up the order form and indicate if you'd be dining-in or to take-out.

order form
wait for it to buzz
As the food may not be ready at the same time, we took what we could and the rest was delivered to our table by the friendly staff. We tried carrot cake, chee cheong fun, steamed pork ribs, chicken claws, siew mai, lo mai gai (x2), porridge, fried beancurd fritters, fried you tiao with mango, fried prawn dumplings, and lava buns (x2). Lots of food for four pax for brunch.

dim sum spread
porridge (house special)

The porridge that we ordered was indicated as Chef's choice. Basically, it is somewhat like a 艇仔粥 (ting zai porridge) with the inclusion of squid strips, fish strips, pig skin strips, and peanuts. Natural tasting, so put a few drops of soy sauce if you'd like. As expected, porridge was thick, smooth and gooey.

lo mai gai 糯米雞
My favourite of the lot, was the 糯米雞 (steamed glutinous rice with chicken, char siew, and mushrooms). Perfectly dark, tasty and chockful of ingredients. Each grain of the glutinous rice was good and none of the 生米 (uncooked rice) nonsense.

The biggest surprise was in the form of the carrot cake. The version here is soft, round and steamed. The usual Hong Kong dim sum versions are those square, pan-fried versions with diced dried shrimps and chinese sausage bits.

Another must-order would be the 流沙包 (liu sha bao or lava buns). I wasn't careful the first time and it 'exploded' onto my palm. Goodness! The fragrance of the salted egg lingered on to the fingers until it was washed off. Very good lava buns.

salted egg custard lava buns 流沙包
For Kovanites, it is good to have stalls selling quality dim sums instead of the kopitiams run-of-the-mill kind, in the neighbourhood area. Just waiting for ex-Chefs of restaurants to open up more hawker stalls in neighbourhood areas. Come to West, ok?

We observed that there is another stall in the coffeeshop that seemed very popular and with long queue. The queue for First Street Teochew Fish Soup stall was never-ending from 11am to 1pm. Let me know your feedback for those that have tried!

Yi Dian Xin Hong Kong Dim Sum

Address: 012 Upper Serangoon Rd, Teo Seng Eating House, Singapore 534750
Contact: 9168 5587
Business Hours: 
Daily 7:00AM to 3:00PM. Closes on Tuesdays.

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Salted and Hung @ 12 Purvis Street

Was in the area looking for a place to dine on a Friday evening. Went around a few before settling on Salted and Hung at 12 Purvis Street. The place was spacious, dark and cosy. Without reservation, one could only dine in a hurried manner before the next seating arrives. Fortunately, we were given an option for counter seats where we could enjoy our dinner in a more leisurely manner, maybe strike up a conversation or two with the Chef Drew and watch the bustling activities of the kitchen.


No worries for first timers. The friendly staff offered recommendations and asked if we had any dietary requirements. We heard that the popular dishes are the Charchuterie, Fremantle Octopus, Scallops, Wagyu Tri-Tip, Lamb Neck Char Siew, the Black Mash and Roasted Cabbage.

We made our choice based on our preferences and since it was just for two pax, we opted for two Small Plates, a main from the Josper and another from the Farm section. We were going for the Scallops, Octopus, Hamachi Collar and Roasted Cabbage. Oooh, didn't realize we ordered mostly seafood!

Chef Drew Nocente assembling the scallops
Scallops with Handcut Noodles and Prawn Floss @$28

There was a tiny hint of spice in that pile of prawn floss and handcut noodles. This scallop dish seemed to be a favourite amongst the staff!

decided on Mi Terruño Reserve Malbec 2014 (Mendoza, Argentina)

At Salted and Hung, even for an order of wine by the glass, I was pleasantly surprised when a first taste was offered to the guest. The pour continues if one likes it, otherwise, they are happy to change it to the next option. Must say that am liking the people of Salted and Hung for their service and warm hospitality.

Thus far, the first taste by the guest was usually practiced if the guest had ordered a bottle. Initially, it crossed my mind that perhaps the staff might have misunderstood that I was getting a bottle! Ooops! Found an interesting read on whether restaurants should offer guests that first taste of wine.

Mi Terruño Reserve Malbec 2014 (@$22 per glass)

Tried the Pitchfork Cabernet Merlot 2015 from Margaret River and this may be the one for you if you prefer a youthful drink with a soft profile. Tried the Mi Terruño Reserve Malbec 2014 and thought that this too tasted pretty young. Nevertheless, a bit paiseh to revert and continued with the Malbec. The taste improved after some time. Balanced, and with aromas of plums and cherries with a hint of spice. Lovely violet hues and goes well with the food that we ordered that night.

The next item was the Fremantle Octopus. One of the benefits of counter seats, was that Chef would be personally explaining the components of your dish. My attention was all on the delicious looking octopus tentacle. Anything from the Josper would be magic. That is the belief.

Fremantle Octopus - squid ink and charcoal @$28

Happy faces on first bite of the tender octopus. Enjoyable meaty chew, exceptional softness and a heavy dose of smokeyness. Yums. The red blob was salami paste and we were cautioned that it would be slightly spicy. Turned out to be rather mild. I'd smeared it generously along with the butter.

Liked that the food was served in accordance to the pace of the diner. Marlee, our lovely service staff for the night, came by every now and then to check on us on how we are doing. Chef too, would come by and asked about the food.

Our final two dishes came together. I never had my cabbages slow-roasted before so this would be a first for me. The leaves turned out to be soft as though it was boiled but with much more intense flavours. Very buttery and rich.

Roasted Cabbage  with Bonito Butter @$12

The Hamachi Collar looked very much blackened. If I could rate a maximum char, this would be it. Peel away the top to reveal sweet luscious meat with good mouthfeel. That's Hamachi, ladies and gentlemen.

Hamachi Collar
Hamachi Collar with soy, dashi and greens @$36

Took the last sip of wine and was ready to go when we were presented with a wooden box that contained housemade cookies with salted caramel. Love the texture and the familiar taste of the cookies. Very good and satisfying sweet end to our meal at Salted and Hung.

finale of cookies

Thank you for the good company and kudos to the lovely crew at Salted and Hung. An enjoyable experience.

Salted and Hung

Address: 2 Purvis St, Singapore 188591
Contact: 6358 3130
Business Hours:
Tuesdays to Fridays - 11:30am to 2:30pm, 5:00pm to 10:30pm
Saturdays - 11:30am to 4:00pm. 6:00pm to 10:30pm
Sundays - 11:30am to 4:00pm
Closed on Mondays

Sunday, October 21, 2018

[Invited Tasting] Q-WA Izakaya @ 103 Beach Road

This izakaya is located at the same building as Marrison Bugis Hotel. Nearest MRT would be Bugis MRT and exit via Tan Quee Lan Street. Head southeast on Tan Quee Lan St toward Beach Rd (walk towards Joo Bar and keep left). Once you reached the corner of the road, turn right onto Beach Rd. You would have passed by Kajiken (歌志轩) as well as a self-service laundromat. Q-WA is just right after that. Head towards the Asahi signage there.

Q-WA Izakaya has outdoor seats as well as indoors. The indoor seats are limited hence, reservation is recommended. For our group, we preferred indoor as the interior exuded an izakaya feels.
current promo

Let's check out the decor of the place.

Japanese posters and polaroids of customers (on the left)
Happy Hour - Asahi
Had the privilege to meet with the owner of Q-WA, Ms Rita and she shared with us her passion for food and Japanese sake, which then led to her opening Q-Wa Izakaya. Q-WA at Beach Road is the second outlet and the first Q-WA Izakaya is located at 39 E Coast Rd, Singapore 428756. She travels frequently to Japan to experience the izakaya.

Q-WA at Beach Road offers predominantly yakimono (やきもの) dishes with some light bites, deep fried (揚げ物) and carb dishes (ご飯物 / 麺類) in the menu.


Let's start with the drinks. For teetotallers, there are soft drinks and calpis (カルピス). Calpis is considered an uncarbonated Japanese soft drink and has a milky appearance, somewhat acidic and tasted like flavoured yoghurt. In Japan, I'd order a Calpis Highball (with whiskey).

During Happy Hour (weekdays: 5 pm to 8pm and weekends: whole day), get half pint of Asahi Super Dry draft beer for just $5. One pint for $9. That's a reasonable pricing. For non-happy hour pricing, half pint of Asahi goes for $7 while the housepour sake is priced at $8 per glass.

For myself, I'd go for their current housepour sake, that is the Gekkeikan 月桂冠 brand. It has a smooth profile and slightly sweet. This may be changed soon, so head on to Q-WA to enjoy Gekkeikan at a special price during Happy Hour.

housepour sake 月桂冠
housepour sake @$5 (per glass) or $19 for 300ml
Asahi Super Dry draft (half pint) and Calpis

Now that we have gotten our drinks, let's have some food! Started with some appetisers of deep fried river shrimps. Tiny morsels that's rather addictive.

Hokkaido Kawa Ebi 北海道揚げ川エビ @$8.90
pick me up and pop me in

Then, there was Pork Katsu Cheese ( from the Deep Fried selections), served with a side of shredded cabbages. Cheese fillings in the pork slice, panko'ed and deep fried to a golden brown.

Pork Katsu Cheese  豚カツチーズ @$14.90
cheese fillings
Shime Saba  しめ鯖 @$18.80
Was surprised by the pale looking plate of Shime Saba. Usually, we'd see it deep fried or grilled but here, the fish was marinated in vinegar before seared and served on a bed of marinated raw onions. Loved that it was already sliced up, deboned and ready for diners to just pickup the smaller pieces and enjoy with their drinks. Makes one feel like having sushi.

Tried the Japanese Squid (Surame Ika) and it was a nice soft chewy texture. Sliced into bite-sized and convenient to eat.

Surame Ika (Japanese Squid) @$15.80

For the yakitori, we had assorted sticks from the chicken, pork and beef selections. My group's favourite seemed to be bacon wrapped items especially the quail's egg wrapped with bacon and tomato wrapped in bacon.

tebasaki (chickeng wings @$3.50), enoki maki (@$3.30), uzura maki (@$3.30) and eboki gyu (@$4.80)
tomato maki (@$3.20), butabara miso (@$3.20), butabara (@$2.90) 
torikawa (@$2.80), tsukune (@$3.60), uzura (@$2.90), negima cheese (@$3.30), negima (@$2.90)

At Q-WA Izakaya, I preferred the items from the chicken. The chicken meat in negima and negima cheese was tender. My must order items for yakitori would be the chicken thigh (もも), chicken heart (ハツ) and gizzard (砂肝).

Chicken Heart and Chicken Liver (はつ @$2.60 / きも @$2.60)
If you like the crunchy texture, then the Nankotsu (Chicken Cartilage) could be your favourite item. I prefer the softer crunch of the sunagimo (gizzard).

chicken cartilage (nankotsu なんこつ @$3.60)

At Q-WA Izakaya, I'd add the bonjiri (chicken tail) as the must-order item. It was my favourite item that night. The bonjiri, nankotsu and hatsu are all limited items hence, do order early!

Bonjiri ぼんじり (@$2.80)
Expect strong seasoning at the Izakaya, and one would need a drink to go along with most of the yakimono.

pick your next drink
To end (and in case still hungry), there are carbs dishes such as the garlic fried rice or the fried udon. The garlic fried rice was a miss for me as the garlic taste was a tad too subtle and pretty small portion.

Garlic Yaki Meshi ニンニクやきめし @$11.90
Yaki Udon 焼きうどん @$10.90

Purple Taste recommends the housepour sake (the 300ml tokkuri version) and the draft beer at Happy Hour, the must-eats yakitori are sunagimo, hatsu, bonjiri, uzura maki and negima cheese, and to share the appetisers of the kawa ebi, Surume Ika and Shime Saba.

Thank you Rita and Q-WA Izakaya for hosting the dinner. Attended with Hence and Tracy, Ivan, Shermaine and Tiara.

Q-WA Izakaya @ Beach Road

Q-WA Izakaya

Address: 103 Beach Road, #01-02, Singapore 189704
Contact: 8336 7728
Business Hours:
Daily 11:30 AM to 2:30 PM, 5:00 PM to 11:00 PM

Thursday, October 18, 2018

[Media Invite] Tour East Luxury Tour Lounge @ Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel

Tour East Singapore in partnership with Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel, had just launched Singapore's 1st Premium Tour Lounge. Tour East is a member of the JTB Global DMC Network.

Located at Level 3 of Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel, this premium hospitality lounge offers a cosy comfortable space for its tour passengers with complimentary Wi-Fi, refreshment, reading materials and a one-stop shop for sightseeing tour needs. The lounge is open from 8am to 8pm daily.

opening ceremony
Tour East Hospitality Lounge
Tour East Luxury Tour Lounge
complimentary refreshment

One could browse the travel brochures, or sign-up for a tour in a relaxed environment. There are tours pertaining to unique experiences such as 'Walk with Our Ancestors' which was nominated for Best Tour Experience 2017 (Singapore Tourism Awards), food and dining tours as well as tours across the Causeway.

Saturday, October 13, 2018

[Media Invite] G Session Arcade @ Hotel G Singapore

We took a break from 'adulting' as Hotel G puts it, and let loose at G Session Arcade on 11 Oct 2018. Ginett was transformed into an arcade arena with neon lights, music from DJ Tang and coupled with the adult drinks from the bar to the likes of Jim Beam Highball, beer and wines.

let the fun begins!

For one night only, patrons could have a go (for free!) at the Dance Dance Revolution (DDR) and maybe challenge the professional DDR'ers (who displayed their amazing footwork!), or have tons of fun playing the Bishi Bashi game or the classic claw machine where one could win prizes from Laneige, Mamonde and Hotel G.

G Session
fun spirals at the bar

With a Jim Beam Highball in hand, lively chats amongst friends and next, was which food to choose. Three options were available; beef burger, vegetarian burger or the hotdog with sweet potato fries. Guess which item I went for?

beef burger

The beef burger fits nicely onto one's palm and loved the thin layer of melty cheese on it. Patty was thick and done to a nice pink medium. With the stomach taken care of, it was time for some fun!

I'm a claw machine enthusiast, so gravitated to that naturally.

which one should I rescue out?

Put in those tokens, take aim and drop the claw. Thought I wouldn't catch any because one of the claw was at the outer side of the plastic barrier and only three were somewhat touching the target's body. But it lifted and successfully carried the toy to the drop area. Lucky!

hi there~

The folks at Ginett and Hotel G were friendly and they took good care of the guests. Had one of those glow band from one, and another plied me with food. Thank you!

thank you for taking care of us!

Enjoyed the G Session Arcade event and thank you to the team that put it all together for guests to have fun. Special thanks to Natasha, Daniel and team.

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