Saturday, January 30, 2016

Rochor Thai @ Novena Regency

Friday evening meet-up with gal pal, and we went for Thai Food. Novena Regency is about 12 minutes walk from the office, so it was pretty convenient. Not a stranger to that area, having frequented Hong Kong Street and Nickeldime Drafthouse.

Made a reservation via Chope the day before, as we weren't sure of the crowd.

The restaurant was fairly relaxed before 730pm on a Friday evening. The place isn't that big so, might be a good idea to secure a table prior to visiting. The alfresco dining area would be quite humid in our weather, so we opted for the cool indoor air-conditioning and was seated at the counter.

indoor dining

counter top

A good thing about being seated at the counter area? Vantage point where I could watch the chefs. Quite heartened to know that most of the staff there, are Thai natives. It added authenticity to the food that we were about to partake.

young chefs in action
Since there were just the two of us, we ordered three dishes to have with rice. The recommended dish was the cabbage with fish sauce, cashew nut chicken and grilled iberico pork collar. Went with two of the recommended and got ourself tom yum goong as well. Our Thai food experience wouldn't be complete without tom yum soup!

good plates, good food?

The food arrived quite quickly as there weren't many other diners at that time. The ceramic bowl for the tom yum soup was pretty looking. The soup portion was just nice for two pax.

tom yum goong and grilled iberico pork collar

The MSG-free tom yum soup was tasty. One sip and you could already taste the spices, the taste-buds awakening sourish taste plus seafood goodness. Good to the very last sip, but be careful as the bottom of the bowl seemed to have all the spices congregated. Having that glass of iced-water nearby would be helpful. Oh, and the manager revealed that this version of soup that we were having, was already the toned-down version. Oh my, can't imagine how fiery it would be, if we were to have the original!

Tom Yum Goong ทอมยำกุ้ง @$14++

 The best dish of the night was certainly, the tender yet enjoyably bouncy chewy Grilled Iberico Pork Collar. So tasty on its own but superb with the magic sauce. This plate of meat, goes very well with a pint of Kronenbourg Blanc draft.

Grilled Iberico Pork Collar (KorMoo Yang คอหมูย่ำง) @$19++
Cabbage with Fish Sauce (KalumPad Nampla กะหล่าผัดน้าปลา) @$12++

On the other hand, the cabbage with fish sauce, which its menu touted as the 'Best in Singapore', was just ok for us. I think my father does a very good rendition of stir fried cabbage though minus the fish sauce. Nevertheless, glad we had a healthy dose of vegetables.

We spent $30 per pax for the above meal. On the average, do expect to spend about $40++ per pax for dinner, plus a drink (half pint) or a shared dessert.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Din Tai Fung 鼎泰豐 @ Junction 8 Bishan

Do you have a favourite outlet of Din Tai Fung in Singapore? It is pretty easy to find a branch, regardless of whether you are at the North, South, East or West side of Singapore.

It was lunch hour, and there was just the two of us. It was a hot day, so we went for the cool comfort of modern world air-conditioning. Ordered a pork chop fried rice and the all-time-favourite and must-order, the original steamed pork dumplings (猪肉小笼包).

steamed pork dumplings (猪肉小笼包) @ $10.90++

The xiao long bao (steamed pork dumplings) felt a tad smaller and less juicy, and somehow the fold slightly not so refined. It still tasted good though and that was all that mattered. Tiny parcels with tiny burst of robust pork flavour.

pork chop fried rice (猪排蛋炒饭) @$12.90++

The pork chop fried rice surprised me a little. Usually, the flavours of the fried rice was really mild. This plate of pork chop rice was the tastiest of all Din Tai Fungs thus far that I've ever tried in Singapore. Not to say I've tried many but at least when compared against the ones at JEM, Serangoon NEX, Paragon and Resorts World Sentosa. The pork chop did not dissappoint. Wonderfully tender and tasty.

Expect to spend from $15 onwards for a meal here.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

GRUB @ Bishan Park 1

First time visiting during lunch hour on a weekday. To get here, one could take a cab and drop off at the Bishan Park carpark. Informed the taxi uncle to take us via Sin Ming Avenue.

The days of the long queues might have passed, but this place is still pretty busy during lunch hour. Lunch sets are priced at $15 and $17 and you'll get additional cake, on top of your burger or main course. Quite a good deal, considering that the average cost for a burger is about $13, so that $2 extra would nett you a decent slice of cake for desserts. If you get a pasta dish, for example one that costs $17, then with the lunch set, the cake would practically pay for itself. Free, even better!

lunch set

Had tried the fish burger and the cheeseburger during previous visit, so this time round, went for the Har Cheong Gai Burger. I can almost imagine how it would taste like. Yums.

Food was served pretty fast. All burgers come with fries, but one could opt for a small salad as well. Needed my greens, so no prize for guessing what I had. Tangy vinaigrette and pleasingly sourish.

The patty for the har cheong gai was fried till a deep brown colour. Very very crispy batter. Am thinking that if the burger was served with those fragrant sambal belachan, then the oomph factor would probably have shot up by twofold!

Har Cheong Gai Burger @$13++ (ala-carte), or $15++ (lunch set)
are we ready?

Liked the portion of the meat. Easy to slice through and it was juicy thigh meat encased in crispy prawn paste batter. The prawn paste taste was rather mild but one could still detect it. The crispy batter somehow reminded me of luncheon meat chips.

juicy thigh meat

For the cakes, there were adequate options and variety to choose from. On our day of visit, there were about 6 cakes options and a key lime pie.

rainbow cake, key lime pie, lavender earl grey, ondeh-ondeh and milk tea cake

The top two cakes for me was the rainbow cake and the ondeh-ondeh cake. Don't you feel happy, just by looking at those colourful layers of soft sponge?

Monday, January 18, 2016

Kedai Makanan Wan Fatt @ Jalan Mendaling

Revisited this place for some zhichar when I was back in Kajang during the December festive period. Read about my first documented visit here in 2012.

Wan Fatt feels rather run-down actually...but as long as the food is good and price is reasonable, then it is still one of the go-to places in Kajang. Rather unique to be going to a place that is like within temple grounds.

large tables for families
menu board

My cousin and uncle met us for dinner so there were 7 of us. Ordered five dishes; fish, pork, chicken, vegetable and a tofu dish. This place has a rather extensive menu and ordering was easy as the menu has pictures.

When eating zhichar in Malaysia, usually the dips would be garlic and bird-eye chilies with soy sauce. Drinks would be a pot of tea.

yum cha

Food arrived fairly quickly as we were there around 630pm. The crowds for weekends usually starts after 7.

(from top, clockwise - stir fried yau mak, pork ribs in golden pumpkin, two types of almond chicken, braised beancurd

The steamed tilapia with minced ginger was good. Think the fish was probably a good one kilo in weight. Vegetables were done stir-fried with preserved beancurd (the one's that is eaten with plain porridge).

The golden pumpkin was a bit bland though, but the pumpkin was naturally sweet. The chicken was a combo of crispy chicken skin with fish paste served with plum sauce, and the middle one would be deep fried chicken in salted egg yolk.

closer view of the almond chicken

The braised beancurd pot was really good and it has some vegetables in it as well. The sauce was good with the rice.

This meal for 7 pax cost about RM153.

Kedai Makanan Wan Fatt

Location: Temple Bangunan Tin Hong See, Jalan Mendaling, 43000 Kajang, Selangor Darul Ehsan
Contact: 012-656 6553, 019-326 8476

Saturday, January 16, 2016

ALATI Divine Greek Cuisine @ 73 Amoy Street

If you are wondering about the word Alati, it means salt and is from the Greek word ἅλας. If you are wondering about the location of the restaurant, it is actually located on the same stretch as Sugarhall and Burlamacco. Exit from Telok Ayer MRT, walk along Telok Ayer Street towards Boon Tat Street and if you see the likes of porridge shop, fish head noodles and some Korean restaurant, then that is about right.

Not only Amoy Street is an unfamiliar territory for me, so is Greek cuisine. Had only experienced Mediterranean cuisine once, and Turkish cuisine about thrice in my lifetime thus far.

Perhaps you are a seasoned traveller and had been to Greece, or perhaps you are just curious about this relatively new cuisine in Singapore. Whichever reason it is, the good news is that Alati, with chefs from Greece, offers diners a viable option to experience foods and wine imported from Greece, without having to travel too far.


This invited session saw us seated in the Santorini'esque restaurant with its white-washed walls and blue colour scheme. Heard that the place gets quite crowded on Fridays, hence do make your reservation if you intend to visit during the weekends.

bread basket with olive oil dip flavoured by aged balsamic, basil, sea salt, tomato flakes

The crusty bread in the basket was baked in-house and with a soft chewy texture. Enjoyable with the dip but wished for more of that aged balsamic.

Ever tried a Greek Sauvignon Blanc? Here, we had the Amethytos Blanc from Kostas Lazaridis. The wine is a blend of 85% Sauvignon blanc and remaining Assyrtiko. Very light yellow hue, fruity, very drinkable with medium body.

Amethytos Blanc @$78++ per bottle

For starters, how about a hearty plate of Greek salad, Horiatiki. Cucumber, tomatoes, red onions, pitted olives, bell peppers and whole square of feta cheese topped with capers. Not forgetting, the lovely drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.

The feta has a strong flavour so probably not a good idea to have too much of the feta in one mouthful. Yummy to have a sip of the Amethytos after a bite.

Horiatiki χωριάτικη σαλάτα @$22++

Next, we sampled the Dolmadakia from the Meze (small dish) section. Dolmas ντολμάς refers to stuffed vegetable dishes that is common in the Middle East. Vine(grape) leaves stuffed with rice and pine nuts. Something new to try. Small parcel and very light flavour-wise. The pine nuts were prominent in this dish.

Dolmadakia ντολμάς @$19++

One meze is not enough. Would you like to have Fyllo-wrapped feta with crisp skin that breaks with a crunch, generously sweetened with honey and topped with sesame? Enjoyed this dish quite a bit and was left wondering if the same combination would work for a slightly more melty type of cheese?

Fyllo-wrapped feta @$15++

Next, was a dish that made the most impression on my taste buds that night. Pita bread served with 4 types of dips. The bread is a separate order from the dips. The portion of the dips that we sampled is said to be half the portion each. Normal portion of one dip is $15++.

Special platter of 4 dips @$32++ , one portion of bread @$4++

Bread was served warm, it was so fun to use it to scoop up the dips. Mainly because I didn't notice the service spoon (teaspoon!).

Liked the Fava which is the Santorini’s bean puree with onions, as it had a very classic taste to it. Pureed bean texture and sweetness from the beans.

The one that made the most impression? To me, that would be the Taramosalata, or also known as the cod roe cream. Just one bite of this and the taste just jumps out at you. A little bit fishy, salty and definitely tasty!

Dips (top anti-clockwise) Fava, Taramosalata, Tzatziki and Melitzanosalata

For those that prefer light refreshing taste, then Tzatziki would be ideal for you. This dip is all Greek yoghurt, cucumber, dill and garlic. Whets the appetite, so go for more! The smoked eggplant with walnuts dip (Melitzanosalata) turned out milder in flavour than expected.

Be careful though. One just can't help, but to keep on scooping up those delicious dips. One by one, these wonderful triangles of bread just kept disappearing!

For those of us that must have our meats, don't worry. Greek cuisine is not just about vegetables, olive oil, basil and feta cheese.

For a light snack to go along with the wonderful wines, we had the deep fried shrimp and this dish is called Garides.  Smallish in size, adequately crispy and seasoned. Highly addictive.

Garides @$7.80++ per 100 grams
Mousaka @$26++

One of the more traditional Greek dishes, would be the Mousaka. A dish of minced beef with eggplant, potatoes and belchamel sauce. The version here is not as soft as I thought it would be. The texture is almost similar to a pan-fried radish/carrot cake squares.

The grilled fish was nice with slightly flaky meat. Served with three dips and plenty of grilled root vegetables. The fish was good on its own, lifted with just a light squeeze of lemon and a few drops of those sea-salt.

Lavraki (grilled seabass) @$9.80++ per 100 grams
grilled seabass, deboned

Let's drink a red wine. How about a bottle of Tsantali Maronia Kanenas Mavroudi Syrah? A medium bodied red, aromas of berries and dark cherries with slight spice.

Tsantali Maronia Kanenas Mavroudi Syrah @$80++

The red seemed popular as I noticed there were quite a few tables were having that on our day of visit.

Kotopoulo Souvlaki @$24++

The Kotopoulo Souvlaki, is a skewer of grilled chicken, served with potatoes, cucumber, bell peppers, onions, yoghurt and some pieces of flat bread. The potatoes were flavourful and the yoghurt sauce was appetising. The chicken were a tad too tough for me but the bread was wonderful as it had soaked up the sauces.

Tried another fish dish. The seabream baked in salt. Just add $10++ for the fish to be done salt-baked style.  Cooking time for salt-baked is about 45 minutes. The fish would be brought ala-trolley to the table and it will be cracked open and served, deboned. Served with two different mayo dips. The texture of the squid ink mayo dip was rather unusual. Well, as long as it tasted good! Lovely fish done salt baked style. Felt that it was much more moist as compared to grilled.

Salt baked Tsipoura (seabream)  @$10.20++ per 100 grams
salt baked seabream deboned and served with squid ink mayo and basil mayo
grilled root vegetables, served with salt baked fish

By this course, I was already having food coma. The wine was kicking in and basically the stomach was saying no more. But, desserts would be served soon. And, by desserts, we had some more wine. This time, a digestif wine named Mastiha, a type of Greek spirit.

Mastiha @$150++ per bottle

The digestif was described quite aptly to us, and that it tasted like ginseng. Sampled a shot, and indeed, one could recognise the aroma similar to ginseng. Potent and very sweet. To be sipped slowly and carefully.

Mastiha shot @$10++

Speaking of sweets and desserts, ever wondered how a Greek desserts would be like? Haven't a clue prior to this and so, was awaiting to be surprised.

For the adventurous, there is this desserts that I have no knowledge of its name. Made of custard and topped with Mastiha cream (yes, the Mastiha liquer) and an unusual fillings of...wait, vermicelli? Hmm. Interesting indeed.

interesting fillings, unusual taste

Next, we sampled some Greek fried donuts known as Loukomades λουκουμάς. Small golden balls of fried crispiness, drizzled with honey, and sprinkling of cinnamon and walnuts. Additional $4 for vanilla ice-cream for added cold creamy sweetness. Most of us Asians would definitely be able to identify with the familiar taste of loukomades. A bit like the butterly fritters but with ultra thin dough and well-fried to heavenly crispiness.

Loukomades @$16++

Had an enjoyable evening and learnt that bit more about Greek cuisine and wines. All thanks to Alati and Khai Git for hosting the dinner, and HGW for the invitation.

If you are around the area during lunch time, do drop by Alati to check out their good-value weekday lunch set.

Alati Divine Greek Cuisine

Address: 73 Amoy Street, Singapore
Contact:  +65 62216124

Operating Hours
Lunch: Mon-Fri, 12:00pm to 2.30pm (Last order 2:00pm)
Dinner: Mon-Sat, 6:00pm to 12:00am (Last order 10:00pm)
Sunday Closed
Public Holidays/Eves open as usual.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Praelum Wine Bistro @ Duxton Hill

Visited this place for the November baby's birthday. The factors that were taken into consideration; nearby parking, wine, decent food and cosy ambience. Plus, this place is new to all of us in the group (don't we all like to find new places to dine?).

Reservation was easy via Hungrygowhere. Was pleasantly surprised to receive a text from Gerald (Praelum) on the mobile and he asked whether we had any dietary restrictions, and also if we would like to arrange anything for the birthday girl. Thought that was rather nice of him.

our table

The place was fairly relaxed at about 7+ in the evening. The food menu has limited choices, and later on, we discovered that the food portion of the mains were just about the same as the tapas. Gerald was very friendly and was on-hand to recommend food and drinks.

food menu

Complimentary bread basket was served while we waited. This was really useful, as on that night, the food that we ordered, were arriving very slowly. The bread had a nice crust and soft on its inside.

complimentary bread

Tarte flambé was highly recommended to us. A dish that originated from Alsace, France. Thin crust, light, savoury and crisp. Indeed it was rather nice and tasty and we did two orders of this.

The other appetiser that we had, was the five-spiced calamari. Nothing remarkable and a tad too salty, unfortunately.

Tarte flambé with portobello, onions and gruyère @$18++

Five-Spice Calamari with sesame mayo dip @$16++

Ordered some meats as our stomach was still grumbling. Was informed that one of their must-try is the Pork Parcels. This has been around in their menu for the longest time. Also tried a new dish, the Grilled Chipotle Chicken.

Pork Parcels @$22++
Grilled Chipotle Chicken with mango relish @$20++

The meats were all good. The pork parcels consist of herbs, cream cheese and mushroom. We were sharing this amongst the four of us, so cutting it open was indeed a messy affair. Tasty and flavourful. The chipotle chicken was slightly spicy and the mango relish was a good pairing for that sweetness against the smokey spicy flavour.

For drinks, we had a bottle of De Stefani Prosecco Zero. Nice hue of light straw colour, bubbly, fruity and dry. Paired well with our foods.

De Stefani Prosecco Zero @$80++

Still hungry, hence more food was required. Ordered two mains and was really surprised by its small portions. Nevertheless, the food was enjoyable. Loved the tender, meaty chunks of the beef. The mashed potato was nicely smooth too.

Salmon-En-Croute (main) @$28++
Braised Beef Cheeks (main) @$30++

Ended the night with lava cake, courtesy of Praelum. Thank you for the lovely desserts treat, complete with a lighted candle.

happy birthday, dear friend

Expect to spend about $50 to $90 per pax. Do note that there are price discrepancies on its menu found on its website as compared to the menu in the bistro (information is correct as of 9 January 2016).

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