Saturday, January 31, 2015

Gan Yakitori 岩やきとり @ Star Vista Part II

Visited again and this time round to try its yakitori. And my first Yamazaki whiskey.

Yamazaki Single Malt 12yrs with Iceball @ $13++

Take a sip of this light golden coloured liquid and leave it to linger for a while on the palate. Smooth with woody aroma. An unhurried drink to savour. Why whiskey? Partly because my friend loves it, and it made me curious. Of course, Suntory was also recently awarded the Distiller of the Year 2014. Perhaps next round, will try Hibiki 17 yrs.

Had the counter seat again, and at dinner time, there was plenty of grill action. Seems like Chef likes to say "はやくう!" Keke.


Meanwhile, got a complimentary plate of きゃべつ (cabbage) with kara miso dip.The cabbage was crunchy and the miso was sweetish saltish and addictive.

無料です cabbage with kara miso dip

As and when Chef had done up your plate, he'll hand it to you if you're at the counter.

しおはつ chicken hearts @$2.80++
たれねぎま chicken with leeks @$2.80++

Super love the chewy chicken hearts (with salt) and the negima (in sauce). But gosh, they were tiny. Luckily, there was raw cabbage to munch on.

あかむつ Dry Red Rock Fish @$8++

The fish was rather small. Much much smaller than an ayu fish (sweetfish). Most likely panfried as I didn't see it being grilled.

soft white flesh

Skip the fish and use the money to have rice or more yakitoris.

There's a 20% discount on drinks at the moment, so the total cost was about $29.

Horioka-san was there and he would ensure that your food had all arrived. The fish took forever to come and he pottered over to the kitchen to fetch it.

ごちそさまでした, ありがと!

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Skyve Wine Bistro @ 10 Winstedt Road

Been here countless of time for bar snacks and drinks, and this was the second time we ordered main courses.

Grilled Whole Boston Lobster @$49++

Quite an enjoyable dish. The lobster meat was sweet and succulent. Spaghettini with ample sauce of crushed tomatoes and reduced cream, what's not to like?

First time having a Malbec as well. Spicy but not overly, smooth and easy on the palate.

Sous Vide Grilled Angus Ribeye @$40++
medium rare

On hindsight, medium would be better as our medium rare doneness turned out to be pretty rare! It doesn't have that metallic tang though it looked rare. Tender and easy to chew except when one bites into the ligaments.

The truffle and potato mash was a favourite. So yummy.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

TOBY'S - The Dessert Asylum @ Parkway Parade

Was invited to try TOBY'S in a far away location that is known as Parkway Parade. For travellers from north-west, one could take bus #966 from Woodlands Bus Interchange. It is an hour ride away and bus interval is about 15 minutes on weekends.

TOBY'S is located at Level 2 of Parkway Parade, and quite easy to spot with its bright purple signage.

TOBY'S - The Dessert Asylum

Seems like its online menu and the actual menu are a bit different. For example, wanted to try the "New" Taco Fried Chicken Wings but its menu only listed Spicy Hot Wings. Hmm.

Nonetheless, its menu looked pretty extensive with starters, salads, burwiches (a cross of burger and sandwich?), pasta, pizza, baked rice and house specials.

For 2 pax, we ordered one starter, two mains and two desserts.

Spicy Hot Wings @$8.95++

The fried wings were coated with spicy sauce and packed some heat though not overwhelmingly so. Thought there was tabasco in the sauce but it was revealed to be sambal instead. Nice asian twist. Best eaten while it is hot.

Was thirsty, so got myself a glass of "Hulk A Mania", or simply put, it is green apple juice with  lime and sour plum.

Hulk A Mania @ $6.95++

Realisation hits when the pasta was brought to the table. Had ordered a main course that was similar to the appetiser! Both were spicy and tomato based sauce also had sambal for spiciness.

Spicy Marinara Spaghetti @$17.95++

The spicy marinara came loaded with crunchy prawns, squid and fish chunks. Plenty of carbs here. 

BBQ Baby Ribs (pork) looked good and tasted good. BBQ sauce was slightly on the sweeter side. The meat was fork tender and enjoyable. There was quite a bit of potato salad too. It wasn't just a small mound, it was a tower of potato salad! Nicely seasoned.

BBQ Baby Ribs @$19.95++
fork tender meat

After the mains, then it was time for desserts. Cakes or ice-cream? How about both!

selection of cakes and tarts
more cakes

For the ice-cream variant, got ourselves a mudpie called "TO-BY or Not TO-BY". My dining companion described the rum & raisin ice-cream as having 'punch'. I liked the crunchy bits in the mudpie.

rum and raisin ice-cream, chocolate ice-cream with choc chips and waffle bits @$10.95++

Pretty sweet. Has been quite a while since I had any rum and raisin ice-cream. Used to be the de-facto selection way back in those days when salted caramel has yet to be introduced.

If you're a durian lover, then Spike D is one dessert here that you wouldn't want to miss. Was glancing at its online menu and this was the dessert that I wanted to get.

Spike D @$5.95++

A nondescript looking round choco globe but inside, ooh, its inside is soo good! Cut a section and one gets that strong whiff of durian. The taste was heavenly. One simply must have this.

fresh durian with chocolate fudge

On the day of visit, I spied that there were only two Spike Ds left at 5pm. So weekend diners who are coming for dinner, you may not get to taste this wonderful dessert.

Overall pick would be BBQ Baby Ribs for the main course and no prize for guessing, yes Spike D for desserts.

Special thanks to Francis for the invite and for being a generous host. The service crew were friendly and helpful.

TOBY'S - The Dessert Asylum

Address: #02-68/69/70 Parkway Parade, 80 Marine Parade Road, Singapore
Opening Hours: 11am to 10pm
Contact: 6346 2435

Saturday, January 24, 2015

The Famous Kitchen 名食小厨 @ 54 Sembawang Road

Was invited to try the food at The Famous Kitchen at Hong Heng Mansion. 54 Sembawang Road. The nearest MRT station seemed to be Springleaf but that is akan datang.

carpark to Hong Heng mansion

The restaurant is spacious and air-conditioned, with private rooms for functions. There is an alfresco area as well for wine drinkers or to chillax.

drink-all-you-can? (better not drive after)

Inside of the restaurant, you'll find a wall adorned with photos. Lots of photos. See if you're able to spot anyone familiar.


Was there to try The Famous Kitchen's signature dishes, plus a dish that's typically eaten during Lunar New Year festivities; Pen Cai (盆菜). Interesting story about the said origin of pen cai, which one could search from wiki.

snacking on peanuts and anchovies before the feast

Never had pen cai before so it was a rather luxurious experience. It is a feast in itself. Ingredients include daikon, white cabbage, fishmaw, mushrooms, broccoli, roasted duck, abalone, dried scallops, dried oysters, sea cucumber and prawns.

Famous "Pen Cai"  名食大盆菜 @ $428+
treasures from the bowl

One can see the generosity in the size of the premium ingredients. Huge scallops and big chunks of fish maw. Abalone was cooked right and has a still tender texture.

Also worth mentioning from the pen cai would be the white cabbage and roasted duck. The vegetable had absorbed well all the flavourful sauce and its natural sweetness was alluring.

Pen Cai requires three days advance booking and available on non-festive days as well.

Next up, get ready with a bowl of rice. 酸菜蒸鱼 or sour vegetable steamed fish was served atop of a small portable stove. Delectable sauce and works best with rice. Drizzle a bit of black vinegar to give it a different kick.

sour vegetable steamed grouper

Kampung chicken (free-range chicken) that's tender? Nice. Slight hints of cooking wine or hua diao in the sauce.

Crystal Chicken 水晶鸡 @ $36+

Next up, something light and soupy; Lobster bee hoon. Paired the bee hoon with the piquant strong chili. End result was quite wow. Then, have some broth to sooth the fire burning on the tongue. Nice.

lobster bee hoon
power chili

Have you tried salt baked crab before? I have not, so it was pretty interesting to eat one at The Famous Kitchen.

salt baked flower crab
The salt coated shell was very lickable. It was like those seasoning packs for junk food; once you start, you just can't stop! Overall, it has a likeable smokey smell and taste. Something different from the usual pepper and chilis.

Even the usual black pepper crab, tasted different at Famous Kitchen. First, a warning. Its black pepper sourced from an origin that cannot be named (secret), is very strong. Combined with other sauces and seasoning, the end result was a fiery concoction of peppercorn goodness that has umami with a slow burn.

black pepper crab

Famous Kitchen also has its version of KL black hokkien mee that tasted pretty good. For fans of crispy pork lard, this place doesn't stinge on it. Crunchy yums.

It would've been perfect if the noodles was braised a bit longer and the sauce slightly less sweet. And, not forgetting the must-have fried sambal belacan chili.

KL Hokkien Fat Noodles

For desserts, we tried the mango pudding and fruit jelly.

mango pudding

The jelly was 'lighter' as it was refreshingly sour and sweet. Mango pudding was dense and thus felt 'heavier'.

After dinner, one could chill outside at the Wine Mansion. Black pepper crab and wine? Sounds good.

more bottles

Special thanks to Jeffrey and Jenny for being such generous hosts, and HGW team for the invite.

The Famous Kitchen 名食小厨

Address: #01-01, Hong Heng Mansion, 54 Sembawang Road
Opening Hours:
Mon - Sun: 11:30 - 14:30, 17:30 - 23:30
Phone: +65 62571843

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Gan Yakitori 岩やきとり @ Star Vista

Was kind of fun walking around Star Vista aimlessly and just looking at things. Found a shop selling The Sims 4. So tempting. Interesting shops include a newly opened fish market (albeit a small one), J-Mart for Japanese foodstuff and Sol-Mart for Korean foodstuff.

Then, it was time for lunch. So went up to Level 2, to try Gan Yakitori's meal sets. Was ushered to the counter seats by Horioka-san.

meal sets choices
Settled for the Hamachi Tamamisoyaki set. It's a no frills set with fish, egg soup, salad and a side that I couldn't recognize from the menu picture.

today's special

at the counter

Pleasantly surprised when an o-shibori was offered by the efficient service staff. A nice gesture indeed.

o-shibori おしぼり

Had a pint of iced cold Sapporo draft to quench thirst while watching the Japanese chef works his grill.

Sapporo draft beer @ $6.40++ (Usual price $8++)

The alcoholic drinks menu looked pretty extensive with sake, sochu and whiskey. Perhaps I'd try a glass of  Yamazaki next time.

part of the drinks selection
Chef and his grill
The yakitori course meal (fixed items) for one pax starts from $38++ , which yields about 5 or 6 yakitori sticks and some other things like appetisers, oden (2 pieces) and a small bowl of noodles.

Was pretty hungry by the time the food arrives. Oh, the other side dish was a pasta item.

Hamachi Tamamisoyaki Set @ $13.50++
The pasta was tasty with the bacon bits in it. Salad for some greens intake and soup to warm the tummy. But the egg drop soup was rather bland.

pasta with bacon bits
egg drop soup

The star of the dish ought to be the fish. It looked pretty good with all the oil glistening but unfortunately was overcooked, resulting in mostly tough texture. Only the parts nearer to the skin was slightly softer. Should have ordered the unagi instead.

firm meat

All in all, the meal cost $24 per pax with one mug of beer. If only the fish was softer, it would have been quite perfect.
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