Monthly Archives: June 2014

Potato Head Folk, Three Buns

There is a lot of hype on the take-over of the iconic Tong Ah Kopitiam shophouse at Keong Saik Road and L, S and I trooped down for lunch with great anticipation.

L nagged us to leave early and luckily we did as the lunch queue built up quickly just past 12:15pm. The place has a cool, trendy and festive vibe and I can see why there is a buzz.

20140623-175230.jpg 20140623-175240.jpg Service though would probably need to be spruced up to cope with the crowd – the overwhelmed servers seemed to avoid eye contact and the sea of waving arms, many orders were left waiting to be taken, our appetizer came after our mains and they got our bill wrong.

Thank goodness the food sorta made up for it though only 1(of 3) columns in the menu was dedicated to food. Even the most flexible of us would only have 6 burgers (the only mains) to choose from whilst poor S only had 2. Quite an achievement that we came up with 3 different choices – Burning Man (beef), Rambo (lamb) and Honky-Tonk (chicken)!

20140623-175334.jpg Rambo ($25) – lamb patty, feta, green chilli, aubergine pickle & cumin aioli

20140623-175428.jpg (Sorry for the bad photo; it was kinda hard to position the slippery bun with all the sauces.)

It was a tough call between this and a beef burger, but I thought this would be more unique – no regrets! The lamb patty was nicely done, pink inside, tender and terribly juicy. It had an Indian flavour and I would say this is the most distinct and flavourful lamb burger I have had in Singapore. Obviously, do not order this if you are not into lamb, aubergine, feta, cumin or strong flavours! The only bit that I disliked was that the bottom bun got really soggy with the plentiful sauces.

Burning Man ($24) – beef patty, smoked cheese, roasted jalapeno relish, hot ketchup & dashi mayo

L had this and we had a 1/5 burger swap. My first reaction – woah, it is really really spicy(!) – the jalapeno and hot ketchup really hits you. Order only if you have a high tolerance for chillis; I don’t think I would be able to finish the whole burger on my own.

Honky-Tonk ($19) – Buttermilk fried chicken, coleslaw, lettuce, ‘Big Poppa Hot Sauce” & den miso mayo

I didn’t have the stomach to also try this. S seemed to like it (especially the coleslaw) but she did comment post-meal that it was too oily and she had to settle for salad for dinner.

Note that the burgers do not come with sides. And… gasp(!)… they ran out of fries (and we were their first lunch customers!). We settled for a basket of wing-its ($8) – sauce lathered chicken wings topped with sliced red chilli, fried shallots and spring onion…

20140623-175541.jpg The sauce was sweet/salty/smokey – it may be some kind of BBQ sauce but it has a unique taste that is quite hard to describe – S hazarded a guess of marmite and some tau-you (edit: S says she said “cang tao you” – well, not that it adds any more clarity ;)) plus some peppercorn which she bit into. I don’t know whether I like it – it was odd especially with the Chinese toppings and yet it was pretty tasty in a non-conventional way.

The drinks menu was far more extensive. I ordered a Ginger Ninja (spicy ginger root fizz) but the raw ginger taste was too much for me; L kindly swapped his Sherbie Hancock (lemonade with orange, lemon & grapefruit fizz) with me which was a gentler sweet blend.

Overall, a cool place to hang out. The burgers are not huge (and on the expensive end) though extremely big on flavours.

36 Keong Saik Road
Open Tue – Sun: 11am – 12midnight
https://www.facebook.com/PotatoHeadFolk
https://www.facebook.com/threebuns

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&Sons

I heard good things about &Sons and small plates are always interesting so off MissY and I went! We decided to choose 4 small plates to share.

Tagliolini, Crab & Nduja ($9)

20140623-105030.jpg Nduja? Had to google this – so Wiki says it is “a spicy, spreadable pork sausage from Italy”. Ahhh… even without knowing what it was, I liked this dish a lot. It was salty, creamy and flavourful with the crabmeat and nduja. Post meal, I found out that the white stuff on top is olive oil snow.

Paccheri, Iberico Pork & Truffle ($15)

20140623-105129.jpg MissY liked the paccheri from her previous visit. So we ordered the “Pa–Char-Ree”. This needed googling too; we learn new things everyday – paccheri is a traditional Neapolitan pasta, generally made with semolina of durum wheat in the shape of giant round tubes, and that erm, it is pronounced “Pa-Kar-Ee”. (Take note, MissY!)

It looked like a tall cinnamon bun, pasta style with cream, shreds of iberico pork and whiffs of truffle. It was a little on the bland side for me and I definitely prefer the tagliolini.

Snails & Bone Marrow ($15)

20140623-105328.jpg My 2 loves! How can this go wrong? But it kinda did. Honestly, I couldn’t even tell where the bone marrow was; think the bone marrow could be put to better use. The entire dish also tasted oddly bitter and the snails were overdone.

Burrata, Asparagus Cream, Hazelnuts ($15)

20140623-105415.jpg We thought we’d better order some veg to balance our carbo-rich meal. This came recommended by S but I wasn’t too impressed. Whilst the burrata was clean and pillowy, there was nothing fancy about the rest of the salad.

Overall, I must say I was somewhat disappointed. The reviews were good and the menu held so much promise; but it didn’t translate to a good meal. Perhaps it was an off-day but I won’t be anxious to return.

20140623-105504.jpg #01-19 China Square Central
Open Mon-Fri 11:3am-2:30pm / Sat 5pm-1am
http://www.sons.com.sg/

Tippling Club

S, L, Z and I headed to Tippling Club for this month’s Spiffy Lunch. And spiffy it was!

2 of us opted for the 3-course set lunch ($57++) so that there would only be 2 desserts to share (for added info, the 2-course lunch is $42++). Even before the appetizers were served, we were treated to 3 small snacks, each a surprise in itself.

Snack 1: Tippling’s interpretation of curry

20140613-171110.jpg Curry (or actually more like Laksa) tasting creamy froth with rice krispies for crunch. Unique and interesting!

Snack 2: Charred red peppers with soy wasabi

20140613-171231.jpg This was my favourite dish of the whole meal! The crisp charred skin, the sweet soft interior and the salty soy wasabi contrasted and yet blended so perfectly together. The zen presentation was cool to boot too.

Snack 3: Freeze-filtered tomato gazpacho with basil

20140613-171358.jpg In short, clear tomato juice. A clean taste to cleanse the palate.

Appetizer

I had the Hokkaido Corn Soup.

20140613-171411.jpg The 3 scallop ceviches, with corn bits, popcorn(!) and basil puree were served soup-less in a soup plate – it was quite a pretty sight but I didn’t manage to snap a photo before the server poured in the piping hot creamy soup. Taste-wise, the soup was sweet and you get the occasional swirl of savouriness (possibly from the basil puree). It is not one-dimensional like most soups – the scallops were fresh and soft, the corn bits gave the soup some bite and I guess the popcorn was just a playful touch ;).

The other 3 had confit salmon.

20140613-171611.jpg Definitely a visually pleasing plating. Everyone gave it high praise.

Mains

Iberico Pork Belly was a straightforward choice for me.

20140613-171715.jpg The meat was super tender and flavourful with roast chicken jus (trust S to question what then happened to roast chicken, which no one had the answer to). The only frightening bit was that it was served on a huge bed of peas! Thankfully, they were unlike frozen peas and were quite manageable.

S and L both had the roasted barramundi (served in garlic soup). I had L summarized it for me – “crispy skin, very fresh, very good.”.

20140613-171803.jpg Desserts

First was the Dark Chocolate Coulant.

20140613-171855.jpg The centrepiece is like a magnum ice cream – dark chocolate shield with vanilla cream within – sitting atop a mount of Chantilly cream. The 2 side pieces were light, porous coffee wafers.

The other dessert was the Pear Tart 2014.

20140613-172032.jpg Extremely intriguing dessert and very hard to share amongst 4. The tart is literally pear shaped – it was a green gelatin-like coating (not exactly sure what it was) encasing caramel ice cream. A light and sweet dessert.

And just as we thought we were done with the meal, along came petits fours served on a metallic rack.

20140613-172210.jpg Dining at Tippling Club was truly a fun and delightful experience in culinary creativity – the interplay of taste/textures, the splash of colours and the combination of foods one would not ordinarily pair together – highly recommended!

20140613-172301.jpg 38 Tanjong Pagar Road
Open Mon-Fri 12nn-3pm / 6pm-late
http://www.tipplingclub.com/

Omakase Burger

We often end up at Pasar Bella whenever we are at Turf City and never got to try Omakase Burger. So when they opened another branch at Wisma, I dragged CY there for a work day lunch.

This is not the “omakase” as we typically know it; you can actually choose the burger you want! There is an explanation of their name on their website if you are keen to understand the thinking behind the name.

We both chose the Omakase Cheeseburger ($14.90) which is their signature and shared the truffle fries (7.30). I really liked it!

20140609-204842.jpg The buns were warm, soft and fluffy. You can choose the doneness of the meat patty; I had mine medium and it was super juicy. The only flaw is that it was so juicy that there was a puddle at the bottom of the paper holder and the bread at the bottom got really soggy. It would be great if they could find a solution for this.

20140609-205417.jpg The truffle fries were fragnant and also super yummy.

Overall, a superior burger experience. However, as also overheard from the next table – “it is quite expensive hor?”; so be prepared to pay more. Definitely worth an occasional splurge though.

20140609-205950.jpg Wisma Atria Lvl 1
Open daily 10am-10pm
http://www.omakaseburger.com

Shinzo

Early birds get the worm (or the good deal in this case). At Shinzo, diners can enjoy their Omakase dinner set at $68 (instead of the usual price of $150) if you dine between 6-7:30pm.

B&S + R and I decided to check it out on a Sat just in case it was too rushed to finish our meal by 7:30pm on a weekday (although S bailed out cos’ she was ill).

First up, salad. It was tossed with crab meat and enoki mushrooms but it was nothing very fancy.

20140609-175202.jpg Next was 2 slices of smoked duck. There was a hint of orange zest which made it slightly interesting but it was also nothing too fancy.

20140609-175246.jpg The highlight of any Japanese meal – the uber-fresh sashimi was delicately served on an emerald plate.

20140609-175334.jpg I was a little concerned when I realized that the main dish was grilled salmon (and regretted not telling the chef that this is something I do not eat). But I gave it a shot as it was not the usual pale pink salmon and the meat was whitish. I am not sure if it was the variety of fish or the skill of the chef, but it was not fishy at all and I actually finished it and thought it was quite alright.

20140609-175447.jpg The fried chicken was a disappointment. The batter was too thick and bready and the chicken was too oily. I couldn’t finish it and neither of the boys wanted my extra piece, which says quite a lot.

20140609-175604.jpg The next dish was interesting – turnip in thick miso broth with white fish atop. The sweet turnip contrasted well with the salty miso. I am guessing that the fish was there to add texture but it was a tad too dry.

20140609-175646.jpg The sushi platter was next and I really enjoyed the toro sushi and the aburi sushi with mentaiko (I forgot to take note of what fish it was).

20140609-175731.jpg The chefs needed an extra reminder that R is lactose intolerant but they did swap out the California rolls for negi salmon rolls and also left out the mentaiko.

20140609-175829.jpg R was not feeling well and commented that he was waaaay stuffed at this point and it was quite sweet of the server to pop up behind us to say that there was only a small serving of noodles to go. This was served in a light broth and was quite a cleansing dish.

20140609-175916.jpg We finished the night with macha ice cream.

20140609-175958.jpg Overall, I would say that it was an average experience. It was a good meal, but I had expected more showmanship and creativity in terms of food pairing and/or presentation.

20140609-180038.jpg 17 Carpenter Street
Open Mon-Sat 12nn-3pm/6:30-10:30pm
http://www.shinzo.com.sg