Friday, October 18, 2019

[Media Invite] &JOY Dining Hall @ Basement 1 Jurong Point

At the Basement 1 of Jurong Point, head towards Shokutsu Ten Japanese Food Street and right after the bread shop, you'll notice an area that had been recently revamped. This would be the &JOY Dining Hall, the new multi-concept daily dining destination.

&JOY Dining Hall

One noticeable difference in &JOY Dining Hall are the availability of self-service kiosk for ordering and payment. Note that if you pay by cash, then you will need to bring the receipt to the Cash Payment counter first, and after which the food order will automatically be sent to the respective stall. There are also QR code sticker at the corner of every table, and you could order and pay (via credit card only) from your own device. This makes food ordering a breeze and no need to queue if you do it from your device. Otherwise, the self-service kiosk at the stall may have a queue also.

why queue?

There are queue number panels conveniently setup around the dining area, so that you could sit comfortably while waiting for the food to be prepared. Numbers watching. One thing that I noticed was that some diners didn't realize that the orange highlight meant that the food is ready.

While the initiatives made it easy to send the orders in without much queuing, now the bottleneck would be at the stalls, depending on its speed to fulfill the orders received. During the day of visit, it was dinner time and we waited for about half hour.

dining area

There are 6 brands concepts to choose from at this dining hall. Roman. Tei (ロマン亭) and Ramen KIOU (らーめん亀王) are two new Osaka brands making its mark here in Singapore for the very first time. There are also 3 new original concepts being introduced; Sushi-Go, Pittarino and My Gohan.

Chef's Recommendation

When one is ready to order, simply scan the QR code at the corner of the table. Browse through the menu and make your choice. Complete the payment and await for your queue number to appear on the queue number panel. Look for the stall name and your number should be there.

Scan to order

If you are unsure of how to navigate through the tech stuffs, there are a few RE&S "Angels" roaming around the dining hall on 19 and 20 Oct 2019 to provide explanation on the ordering system.

cheerful Joy, one of the Angels

Here is the list of promo items during this opening period. Don't say bo jio!

Opening Specials

Here's a glimpse on the ordering interface via the browser.

Select your choice

Went around looking at the respective stalls before deciding on our choice for sharing.

Roman. Tei
Chefs busy preparing the orders
one of those could be mine

The wait for the food was rather long. Finally, it was ready and you could tell when the queue number is highlighted in orange.

Roman. Tei - Beef Steak Zen @$17.90

Roman. Tei is a beef specialist from Osaka and this is their first overseas outlet. Even in Singapore, we could enjoy the authentic experience of eating the beef steak rice from an exquisite Jyu (lacquer) box. The Beef Steak Zen set comes with a bottle of hot dashi, some condiments, pickled mustard leaves, chilled tomato, mini salad, garlic chips and wasabi and a bowl of clear beef miso soup. I like the idea of having the rice in hitsumabushi style, as well as to enjoy it as it is.

beef steak medium rare
add these to the rice and pour the hot dashi in for a different style of eating
wasabi and garlic chips

There are actually two types of beef in the Beef Steak Zen set meal; the beef steak and thin slices of beef cooked in onions, soy and mirin. Like those you find in gyudon (牛丼). Two flavours in one set. That's neat!

beef steak slice
beef slice over rice

And of course, we had to try Ramen KIOU and we got the recommended Tomato Cheese Ramen with additional toppings of tamago and chashu.

Ramen KIOU - Tomato Cheese Ramen @$17.40

Ramen KIOU offers robustly delicious ramen that is typically characterised by a milky pork bone broth, and roasted chashu that's super tender. Loved the chashu, especially round its charred edges. Almost melt in your mouth.

super like this chasiu

In case you are still not full from eating the ramen (how is that even possible!), there's a complimentary bowl of rice with garlic chips and seaweed shreds to fill you up even further.

carbs on carbs

Next up, the pizzas from Pittarino. Loved the striking yellow colour theme that they have. So cheery!

take out box (additional $1)
Pittarino - Half  & Half Pizza @$14 (opening promo price)

The Half & Half Pizza consisting of Teriyaki Chicken and Truffle Mushroom costs only $14 as part of the opening special until 15 Nov 2019. The dough at Pittarino is of the chewier variant. The truffle and earthy mushrooms flavours were subtle with a stronger hint of the truffle aroma.

onsen egg center

The Teriyaki Chicken and Scallion pizza was stronger in flavours and I liked it more than the Half & Half. Wished I had a glass of ice cold Asahi!

Teriyaki Chicken and Scallion pizza @$17

so messy, so tasty

If you are looking for something more homely, try My Gohan. The queue seemed to move pretty fast over here and we crafted a meal comprising of Hokke Hiraki, Mentaiko Tofu Gratin, Hijiki Salad and Zaru Udon.

"Create My Gohan" meal @$20.90

The hokke fish was plump and meaty with a good mouthfeel. I was most impressed by the chewy Zaru udon. So refreshing when eaten chilled! Absolutely loved it!

First time seeing tofu gratin though. The taste of mentaiko was mild here.

Mentaiko Tofu Gratin @$2.50
(cold) Zaru Udon @$4

Hijiki Salad @$1.50

Thank you Samantha, RE&S for the invite and for the tour around the dining hall. Congratulations on the opening of &JOY Dining Hall!

&JOY Dining Hall

Location: 1 Jurong West Central, #B1-47 Jurong Point, Singapore 648886
Business Hours:
Daily 11am to 10pm

Sunday, October 13, 2019

[Tasting] Kai Duck 嘉苑美鸭 @ Ngee Ann City

Located at Level 5 of Ngee Ann City, Kai Duck is a new modern Cantonese casual dining restaurant by Kai Garden. Its menu has creative signature dishes based on Cantonese-style Peking Duck. The outlet itself is decked in 1960's cha chaan teng (茶餐廳) decor with an upbeat modern vibe. Expect delicious contemporary Cantonese cuisine that appeals to millennial as well as baby boomers.

sights that greeted diners

Service was quick and friendly. The place was bustling and packed a crowd on a Friday evening. The 160-seater restaurant has 3 private dining rooms that can accommodate larger group of up to 12 pax. Reservation is advised.

Let's start with a pot of hot tea as our choice of drinks. Absolutely loved the striking blue coloured pot. Tea itself was mildly fragrant with a light taste. Forgot to ask what type of tea it was!


Started with a plate of cold appetiser in the form of Chilled Mini Tomatoes topped with Japanese Sesame Sauce. This dish whets the appetite with its combination of sweet from the red mini tomatoes countered by the savoury from the fragrant goma sauce. There's bits of aiyu jelly for additional texture contrast.

Chilled Mini Tomatoes topped with Japanese Sesame Sauce @$10.80

Then, we had the pan-fried carrot cake from their dim sum menu. Can taste bits of lap cheong 腊肠, dried shrimps 虾米 and slivers of radish in the lo bak gou (萝卜糕). Was that chili sauce that was drizzled all over? Hehee.

Pan Fried Carrot Cake @$13.80

You know, very often we only get to eat Peking Duck if it was a big family outing like Chinese New Year or grandma's birthday, or with big group of friends. Now, we can feast on the crispy crunchy goodness of Peking Duck without having to order the entire fowl at Kai Duck.

Let's see what Chef Fung, owner and Group Executive Chef, has in mind for us diners with Kai Duck's featured signature dishes; Sliced Peking Duck with Crackers, Mini Burger with Peking Duck Salad, Crispy Bun with Sliced Peking Duck and Peking Duck Handroll.

Sliced Peking Duck with Crackers @$4.80 (min. 4 pieces)
Mini Burger with Peking Duck Salad @$9.80
Crispy Bun with Sliced Peking Duck @$4.80 (min. 4 pieces)
Peking Duck Handroll @$4.80

I was impressed by the Peking Duck skin. Glistening, golden and crispy all the way, even after many shots of photo-taking prior. Amazing.

Unlike traditional Peking style of baking the duck with fire, at Kai Duck, the duck skin is prepared by using the Cantonese method of drizzling the duck with oil after baking. Expect a good mouthfeel from the duck oil for the paper-thin skin that crackled with each bite. I loved how the crispy skin was further enhanced by the pairing of cracker, deep fried bun/mini burger, as well as the crispy popiah skin in the handroll.

The Sliced Peking Duck with Crackers was refreshing with a slice of cucumber and tangy sauce, and the crispy texture further enhanced by the tasty corn cracker. The Mini Burger with Peking Duck Salad felt more substantial with the inclusion of duck meat. Thought the salad was a bit like coleslaw. It was funny, as we thought the crispy bun looked like luncheon meat. The Crispy Bun with Sliced Peking Duck was crispy duck skin, with cream cheese and extra crispy flattened mantou. There was a bit of sweetness from the handmade mantou bun too.

My favourite signature dish would be the Peking Duck Handroll. I loved the extra crunch from the popiah skin, the sweet savoury sesame sauce that coated the duck meat and the cucumber slices for extra freshness in taste. Yummy. 好食!

Stir Fried Hong Kong Cai Xin with Pork and Preserved Vegetables @$15.80

We didn't forget our vegetables and the plate of greens in the form of crunchy cai xin topped with the preserved vegetables was a good interlude. This dish goes well with rice and speaking of which, I'd recommend you to try their Signature Fried Rice with Black Truffle Mushroom and Beetroot, served in a hot stone pot.

Signature Fried Rice with Black Truffle Mushroom and Beetroot @$16.80

As soon as this was served, we were greeted with a strong whiff of truffle aroma. It looked pretty with all the puffed rice topping which was hiding the pinkish-purple grains below. What could this be like? How will it taste? Thoughts started to run wild and anticipation builds.

The service staff will mix the rice for the table. Loved the colour and can't wait to taste.

delicious signature fried rice

It was love at first bite. Savoury, flavourful and with crispy bits and the tiny diced mushrooms and sweet corn. Maximum enjoyment even when it was meatless. Recommended!

Chase this with some hot soup and we tried the Poached Patin Fish Soup with Chinese Wine. The wild caught patin fish is delivered twice weekly from Sarawak and each fish weighs about 5kg. This fresh water fish is also known as '水果鱼', loosely translated as 'fruit fish' because it loves to feed on the fruits around the river. Rich in collagen and fish oil.

Poached Patin Fish Soup with Chinese Wine @$38
full of goodness

The soup has a wholesome rich taste accentuated by the mild flavours of ginger, yam and chinese wine. The pot is meant for 4 pax but I want more soup! For fish lovers, especially those who loves fish oil, then this pot can also be shared amongst two pax. Just give me a bowl of rice to go along with this for a happy meal.

If you don't fancy fish, how about trying some Crisp-Fried Fish, Prawn and Crab with Black Truffle Sauce?

 Crisp-Fried Fish, Prawn and Crab with Black Truffle Sauce @$16 (min. 4 pieces)

Loved the yellow hue and the cereal coated batter. The Black Truffle Sauce has strong flavours, so a dab will do.

cheers to good food, good friends

Thank you Kris for extending the invite and May, Kai Duck for hosting the dinner. Kudos to Chef Cheung and his team for the delicious food. Special thanks to the service crew who attended to our table.

Kai Duck 嘉苑美鸭

Location: 391 Orchard Road, #05-10/11, Ngee Ann City, Singapore 238872
Contact: +65 6235 5419
Business Hours:
Monday to Fridays:
11.30am to 4.30pm* (last order at 4.30pm);
5.00pm to 10.30pm (last order at 10.00pm).

Saturdays, Sundays and Public Holidays:
10.00am to 4.30pm*
5.00pm to 10.30pm

*Dim Sum available

Friday, October 11, 2019

The Coconut Club @ 28 Ann Siang Road

Opened in 2016, visited by Prime Minister in the same year, and the restaurant was listed in 2018's Michelin's Bib Gourmand list. The Coconut Club is now located at 28 Ann Siang Road.


Visited on a Saturday after lunch hour, and there was a queue outside the restaurant. For the people that are patiently queuing, they provide iced water, rose syrup and I see bottles of wine too. Self-service although I have not seen anyone enjoying the wine that day. Loved the instant relief from the iced cold rose syrup water especially on a hot humid day.

for the people queuing 

We waited for about half an hour and got a table shortly after 2pm. The place was bustling as expected. Plenty of friends from foreign countries and some hip looking locals.

peeped inside to see what's happening
ok, our turn to be seated
action packed

The food menu and drinks menu came with tiny fonts. I just can't. We ordered a basic plate of nasi lemak, paru, kueh salat and a chendol. For the nasi lemak's fried chicken and depending on what's in-stock, you can choose to have either white or dark meat. The white meat was of a larger piece, but we opted for dark as I loved chicken thigh. The wait for the dark meat to be fried (because it was out of stock), was about 15 to 20 minutes.

food menu

The Basic @$12.80++

The chicken was fried to a deep brown and looked inviting. The other condiments like fried peanuts, ikan bilis (anchovies), sliced cucumber and a dollop of sambal were neatly placed at the side of the plate and surrounding the coconut rice. For egg, you have a sunny side up with a wobbly center.

The chicken was crispy and well fried and had mild flavours. Was sort of expecting more flavours from the chicken. Perhaps the seasoning that day was lighter? The sambal was of a less spicy variant and my guess is that everyone could enjoy it.

let it flow

The Paru (beef lungs) Sambal Lado side dish that we ordered, was surprisingly superb. Substantial pieces of tender bouncy lungs and topped with lovely sambal. Because they serve this in large pieces, I felt it was akin to eating lung steak. This was my favourite thing from The Coconut Club.

Paru Sambal Lado @$7++
so yummy

To end the meal, one could enjoy local kuih like kuih salat, bingka or kosui. Ordered a piece of kuih salat just to try try. It looks beautiful and a nice introduction to foreign friends. 

Kuih Salat @$2++
loved the vibrant colour

The must-order for dessert would be the chendol. Loved the amount of gula melaka on this and the ratio of the coconut milk. Lots of red bean toppings too. Lovely and value for money.

Chendol @$3.80++

When it was near to their mid-day break time, we were asked by the service staff on whether they could clear our plates, though we were still enjoying the last bits of our meal. This occurred for about 3 times with about 5 minutes in between each request by different service crew, before we acceded. And out of curiosity, we asked one of them (the last one who cleared our table) on why they need to constantly ask to clear the plates within such short intervals and there wasn't any queue by then. His reply was that it is part of their SOP not to have messy table so that customers can dine comfortably. Hmm, does this mean that our table were that messy? Oops.

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