Saturday, August 27, 2016

JB Ah Meng Kitchen 新山亚明小厨 @ 2 Lorong 23 Geylang

It was ripe time again for a zhichar gathering. All it took was for one party to suggest and the rest of us to come to an agreed date and time. Gotta love my foodie pals!

This time round, we explored the foodie haven of Geylang. Ok. The word 'explored' was probably exaggerated as all we did was to convene at this one place; JB Ah Meng.

Took a cab there and discovered that Lorong 23 has 2 stretch of road and hence, was unceremoniously dropped off by taxi uncle as he said he doesn't know where it is. Sure, I just needed to choose one side and walk ahead. Headed towards where the bright lights were (away from the industrial buildings) and soon enough, found the place at the end of Lorong 23.

Imagine dingy backlane, warm stuffy air, hot tasty food and sometimes someone running away from something. Yeah, this is the place to experience all those.

glimpse into the kitchen
I was the last one to arrive and at a good timing too as food was just served and ready to eat. Let's see what we had. Here's our menu for that night:

  • J.B San Lou Meehoon (L)
  • Salted Egg Prawn Ball (M)
  • Crab Roll Fritter (S)
  • Snake Beans with Lotus Roots (M)
  • Fried Black Hokkien Noodles (M)
  • White Pepper Crabs (2 pieces)
  • Kurobuta Boneless Pork Collar (S)
  • Fermented Bean with Belly Pork (S)

Amazing selection, and am even more amazed as all the above were consumed by just the 6 of us. Two guys and 4 gals. Wow!

Let the feast begin. The plate of beehoon was nondescript. Not as charred nor 'chaotar' as initially thought. There were some greens that was hidden in the mid-section of the dish. Otherwise, it was just charred rice vermicelli with sprouts, eggs and leafy greens.

JB San Lou Meehoon (新山三楼米粉) @$14  (Large)
Crab Roll Friter (蟹冬双拼) @$12 (Small)
The crab roll fritter was quite interesting, especially the crispy stuff. Tapioca? Nah. It was actually deep fried kway teow sheets. Sweet, spicy and the texture of the crab roll was actually soft.

Fermented Bean with Belly Pork (南乳炸花肉) @$12 small)
The deep fried pork belly in fermented bean curd paste was rather light. Pleasant and enjoyable but wished its taste could be stronger.

The deep fried salted egg prawn ball was a pretty huge plate for a medium. The prawns were plump but overly firm. Tasted like pork! So bouncy. Haha! Interesting corn kernels in there but was probably there for crispy texture.

Salted Egg Prawn Ball (咸蛋虾球) @$30 (Medium)

Hokkien Black Noodles @$9 (Medium)
I think we made a mistake in ordering two carbs. But the fried hokkien noodles was rather value for money with a medium sized plate going for just $9! Medium for this is similar to a large plate. It has some pork slices, vege and small prawns in it. If only the sauce was darker, its noodles rounder and perhaps some chicken liver and gizzard in there, plus a bit of lard or two...then it would be even more similar to KL style fried hokkien mee. Well, a girl can only wish...

And for our customary vegetable dish, thought we ordered something interesting as I never had 'snake beans' before. However, it turned out to be....french beans. Oh, alright.... (did you sense the disappointment?)
That aside, I kind of liked this dish. There was french beans, some celery and deep fried lotus roots crisp.
But it was kind of a small plate for $18, so probably not value for money.

Snake Beans with Lotus Roots (蛇豆炒莲藕) @$18 (Medium)

Next up, if you're having white rice, then this next dish would be the perfect combi. The stir-fried kurobuta pork collar in black pepper sauce. Tender slices of pork, in rich strongly flavoured sauce and capsicums. 给我多一碗饭吧!But then, we still have the noodles...oops!

Kurobuta Boneless Pork Collar @$20

Weather was so warm and humid that it demands for some cooling drink. I had the oldenlandia (白花蛇草). An old school favourite with a sprinkling of salt.

drinks, COD

And did you think we were done? Am saving the best for last. My favourite dish of the night, goes to....
Yes, you are right. The white pepper crabs! WooOOhOOo!

White Pepper Crabs @$48
back view

Good sauce, not overpowering, plenty of spring onions and fresh, sweet meaty crab. Not that big in size but it was fresh and sweet. So yummy.

Tummies full, and plates emptied. Backlane eats, our zhichar story. Special thanks goes to foodie gang; Shermaine, Kris, Jennifer, Ivan and Hence. Shared calories, shared memories. Thank you guys!

Sunday, August 21, 2016

[Lifestyle] - Singtel CAST

For all Singtel mobile subscribers out there, here is another option for you to enjoy entertainment on-the-go. On 7 July 2016, Singtel has launched Cast, Singapore's first OTT video portal app. According to wikipedia, OTT (Over-The-Top) is the delivery of audio, video, and other media over the Internet without the involvement of a multiple-system operator in the control or distribution of the content.

What is the subscription cost like?
Singtlel Mobile postpaid customers can choose from various content packs such as Kids, Asian Hits, Hallyu content packs for just $4.90/month with 12-months contract or $6.90 per pack without contract.

What about data as watching streamed content on the go means more data is required?
No worries, just add on +$3 per month for an extra 1GB of data.

Where or how do I sign up?

the CAST guide
what's available

Got to know about this app and service at an event recently. It was held at The Arts House and the theme was Hallyu Night. Always wanted that latest Korean drama streamed right to your mobile device with unlimited download, priority viewing with Chinese and English subtitles as fast as eight hours after original telecast, full HD and uninterrupted viewing? Then you'll need Cast and Viu premium service. Just $7.90 per month (with 1GB data bundle).

The Arts House @ Old Parliament
cut hair? nah?

learn more about Cast

We enjoyed the Korean inspired dinner by Timbre and was entertained by Kelly Poon, who sang for us the theme song from DOTS (Descendent Of The Sun). One of my favourites when she was in Project Superstar.

Kelly 潘嘉丽
Had some fun (and easy to play) games and prizes like Korean snacks and facial masks were distributed to the winning teams.

wefie'ing via Oppo phone
Oppo was one of the sponsors, hence there was a short showcase on its phone. The phone was slim and light, and it has a 16MP front camera and 13MP back camera. Its size is slighly bigger than my Samsung S6.

entertainment via Singtel Cast on Oppo phone

Thank you Darryn and Team for the invite. It was informative and fun!

To sign-up for Singtel CAST:

Monday, August 15, 2016

Aura Restaurant @ National Gallery

Located at 1 St Andrew's Road, this place is slightly further than Capitol and pretty near Adelphi. Nearest MRT station would be City Hall. Walk into National Gallery and head on straight to the lift. Aura is at Level 5. Reservation is encouraged.

Aura @ Level 5 National Gallery

Was there for a special dinner with fellow foodies and there were 8 of us. The  ala-carte menu for dinner consists of 8 types of pasta dishes and 8 meat dishes for mains. Ask for their 'special' menu and there will be about 3 more pasta dishes and one meat dish to choose from, while stocks lasts. When we were there, the specials were razor clams fettucine ($38++), lobster pasta ($48++), sea urchin pasta ($50++), and Tajima wagyu (meat dish) for $160++. Wine list was pretty interesting and I thought the options for wine by the glass was adequate.
well stocked
wine menu

Read about reviews pertaining to service, and am happy to inform that it was actually quite good. The menu was promptly handed out, while the wine list was upon request. Stools were available for handbags/bags though mine was on the floor. Complimentary drinking water was brought out for each of the guests. Not much of an issue, actually.

while perusing the menu

Once we have placed our orders, the bread (focaccia) was brought out, with a small dish of olive oil and balsamic (one each per guest). More bread is available, should the guests would like to have more.

complimentary focaccia
The focaccia was a tad harder than it looked. Nevertheless, it served its purpose in keeping our hunger at bay.

For wine, we ordered a bottle each for white and red. For the white, we had Kanta Riesling 2012 Egon Muller (@$120++) and for the red, we had the Guidalberto 2012 Tenuta San Guido (Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot blend). It was a tad challenging to choose the red as one would like to have it more tannic, one preferred spicy and one wanted it mellow. So this was a compromise in the moderate range.

2012 Tenuta San Guido 'Guidalberto' Toscana IGT, Tuscany Italy @$170++
The Riesling was light straw yellow in colour, fruity, dry and leaning towards mineral aftertaste. The Tenuta San Guido is a blend of 60% Cab Sav and 40% Merlot, is very drinkable with deep ruby colour and taste of berries with a hint of spice. Light acidity in the beginning and soft aftertaste.

2012 Egon Muller 'Kanta' Riesling Adelaide Hills
2012 Tenuta San Guido 'Guidalberto' Toscana
Our late dinner began after all the toastings and the appetisers looked pretty. Our appetisers comprised of three cold appetisers and one warm.

The burrata cheese was a small cutesy mound of whiteness, sprinkled with finely chopped black olives, on a bed of greens. Was wondering if burrata is usually this dry, or should it have some olive/balsamic drizzle or perhaps some sea salt sprinkle? Even the greens was without dressing. When slicing the burrata, it wasn't as moist nor as rich or creamy as I imagined it would be. Least favourite of the appetisers.

Burrata Cheese with Cherry Tomatoes and Black Olives @$26++
Parma Ham with Musk Melon @$26++
The portion of parma ham was generous but the musk melon was too thinly sliced and more of an adornment rather than contributing to any sweetness to the dish. The rockets were fresh and peppery but perhaps a little dressing on the rockets would be nice.

Scallops Crudo withTruffle and Smoked Quail Eggs @$28++

Hokkaido scallops were sweet and the creamy avocado was nice with the ikura and all. Didn't get a taste of the smoked quail eggs though. But overall, would recommend this for starters. Tasty dish and goes well with the wine.

Next, was the grilled octopus. Its smokey fragrance was pretty enticing. Octopus was nicely tender and there were some yolk that oozed out from the egg for that added creaminess.

Grilled Octopus with Crispy Egg and Corn @$28++

Now, on to the mains. Actually, was pretty stuffed from the breads. Had two squares of focaccia and by the time we sampled a bite out of the four appetisers, the stomach space was already about 80% filled!

Whole Wheat Tagliatelle with Duck & Foie Gras @$32++
Tagliolini with Scampi and Avruga Caviar @$38++

The tagliatelle and tagliolini pictures came out quite good. The tagliatelle with duck and foie gras tasted as how it sounded. Rich, strong flavours and slightly gamey as expected from the duck and foie gras. Good with red wine.

The tagliolini was interesting as the sauce was rather sticky and the taste, was of something familiar to Asian tastebuds. I thought it tasted like hae bee flavour. The scampi was sweet, firm and plump.

If you like foie gras, then go for the Smoked Duck with Foie Gras and young Spinach. The slab of foie gras would surely bring a smile to your face. The taste of the foie gras in this dish was much cleaner and none of the gamey aftertaste. So good!

Smoked Duck with Foie Gras and Spinach @$38++
Pappardelle with Oxtail and Mushrooms @$26++
Burrata Cheese Ravioli with Amatriciana @$26++

The pappardelle was the most al-dente pasta of the night. Chewy and very filling. The sweetest tasting pasta of the night would be the sea urchin pasta.

It was a tad unfortunate that my photos of the specials didn't turn out well.

Razor clams fettucine @$38++
Sea Urchin Pasta @$50++

For myself, I had the Spaghetti with Crab and Porcini. A taste that is closer to home. What's missing was just the chilies. Haha!

Spaghetti with Crab and Porcini @$28++

To end, we had sweets. Tiramisu is a must for any Italian meal. But why stop at one when you can have two desserts?  On hindsight, tiramisu was the better sweets.

Bailey's and Hazelnut Feuillettine @$15++
Tiramisu @$15++

Overall, it was a hearty meal. The place was noisier than expected as we were also seated next to a large group celebrating a birthday. Ours, in a way, was also a celebration of sorts. First time meet-up with an acquaintance whom we had only interacted with, virtually via email and whatsapp.

Expect to spend about $88 to $120 per pax for a 3-course dinner, with a glass of wine.

After dinner, one could adjourn to the Sky Lounge for drinks and to enjoy the night view.

night view

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Fix Cafe @ Ah Hood Road

Nestled deep in NS Home Team Clubhouse, this place is actually pretty near my workplace. Met friends for late lunch on a Saturday. Friends had already finished their meal by the time I arrived, so ordered Mexican Fried Chicken and doughnuts as dessert.

But first up, a nice cold drink to quench thirst on a hot humid afternoon. Liked the Earl Grey Lychee Tea!

Lychee Earl Grey Tea @$5++

Fried chicken came in two pieces, so I shared one with a friend. Came with a side serving of salad and a herbed dip. Had mine with leftover chili sauce from friends' earlier fajitas. The chicken was well fried though the seasoning is not that strong. Loved that they gave chicken thigh and drumsticks on that plate.

Mexican Fried Chicken @$14++

Asked the service crew for recommendations on desserts and the answer was donuts. Ok, let's try it.

Donuts with Salted Egg Dip @$6++

Cutesy mini round deep fried balls of dough with some icing sugar. The salted egg dip was rather thick, much more like a custard instead. I liked it especially when the donut was spread with lots of salted egg dip. Yums!

Patrons could choose to sit indoor or outdoors. The indoor seats are much cooler but it was also at the blind spot of the service staff. Perhaps it was because we dined there at odd hours, so the staff did not check on us. Other than that, staff were friendly.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Char Casual Dining @ Jalan Besar

When you go looking for their signboard, don't go looking for Char. Look for CHR instead. Lesson learnt. The restaurant is actually at the same building as Singapore Lee Clan General Association (新加坡李氏总会). The restaurant is opposite across the road from the bright yellow Lavender Food Hub coffeeshop.

shop front
Visited on a Friday evening and about half the restaurant was occupied. Mostly in groups of about 4 to 6 pax. Service staff are relatively young and the shop has both upstairs and downstairs seatings. If you are coming with your family, best to make reservation for the round tables (downstairs).

dining area at Level 2

We were seated at Level 2 and I'd rate the noise level a 4 out of 5. The sound gets trapped and basically just ping'ed around in the dining space. Not all tables are occupied but intimate conversations are impossible. The furniture are all heavy duty type and when the staff tries to rearrange the chairs, grates the ears.

We came for the char siew, so got ourselves 400grams of those. Added side orders of stir-fried french beans, salted egg pork ribs and prawn paste chicken. Food was prepared relatively fast and served out within 10 minutes.

For drinks, one could choose from beers, ciders, wine, coffee, tea and juices. Happy hour till 7pm on weekdays. Got myself a Hobgoblin Gold (on tap) to go with the meats.

Hobgoblin Gold (half pint) @$8++ (HH $6++)

Soon, our 400 grams of dark glossy fatty goodness arrived. There is a minimum order of 300gms for the char siew. Initially, it sounded a tad intimidating to have 400 gms but it meant each of us got 100 grams each. Yay!

Special Char Siew @$24++ (400gms)
sambal chili and belachan sauces

The fatty ratio of the meat was good and all, but...why does it taste more like braised meat rather than a good charred char siew? Can't say am not dissappointed after all the hype and expectations.

Spicy 4 Seasons Beans @$10++

Prawn Paste Chicken Wings @$12++

The Four Seasons beans is definitely recommended. So yummy with the white rice. Don't worry about the 'spicy' part. It wasn't at all. The prawn paste chicken wings were lacking the prawn paste taste. Just treat it like regular fried chicken will do.

Salted Egg Pork @$14++

I like the salted egg pork. Thought it was going to be pork ribs but it turned out to be popcorn bite-sized pork. Don't expect too much of the salted egg yolk sauce as it was suffering the same fate as the prawn paste. Would be better if the taste was stronger. Nonetheless, I still enjoyed this dish alongside with the beans. So yummy! Ah, and the pork had soft bones in it so don't bite too hard unless your teeth are very strong!

head on downstairs to make payment but take note of your table number

Expect to spend about $21 per pax. The above fed four ladies during dinner time.

All Rights Reserved. © Purple Taste
Blogger Theme by BloggerThemes| Theme designed by Jakothan Sponsored by Internet Entrepreneur