Category Archives: Area

Dojo

Warning for S and my “no-pork-for-me” friends: this place only serves pork, and nothing else!

Amongst 3 colleagues and I, we shared:

Pork Grillets ($6)
IMG_5368.JPG Sinful, bouncy, chewy, fatty little bites. Just a tad sweet after your 4th one.

Komba Bao ($6 for 2)
IMG_5369.JPG Interpretation of the Chinese kong-ba bao. Was super looking forward to this! Imagine biting through the crusty shell of the deep fried bun, then finding the soft fluffy bread and then sinking your teeth into the warm meaty pork. This is like a bigger scale fried mantou with meat. Super delicious; just a notch too sweet.

Sumo Burger ($13)
IMG_5365.JPG Soft buns with juicy minced pork patty and crispy batter fried pork belly – a good mix of various textures and taste. Good but I somehow didn’t find it too exciting. Would probably try their signature, Big Boss (stack of onion ring, sunny side up, bacon and pork patty) next time.

Stevo Sandwich ($10)
IMG_5366.JPG Of all our orders, this sounded the least sinful and I thought it would be the least yummy. Wrong. The sweet home-made apple sauce complemented the salty roasted pork belly slices really well and the bread provided the neutral balancer. I actually liked this best of the 4!

Overall, a nice casual place for pork lovers – definitely check this out if you are into pork, and especially if you are in the CBD.
IMG_5372.JPG 72 Circular Road
Open daily (except Sun) 11am-3pm; 6-10pm
http://dojo.sg/

Advertisements

Merchants

On a roll now that I am back from my hiatus!

I don’t know how I missed that Tian Tian had closed its doors at Joo Chiat; my parents apparently have mentioned this several times.

In its place, is Merchants – a wine shop/bar/bistro, which we adjourned to after our grill dinner. And because A thought Awfully Chocolate at the end of the road was too far away to walk to.

We sat in the alfresco section; would have preferred the AC but it was cool enough outside.

I really like the vibe – chillax, not trying too hard and most importantly, not too noisy (we were probably the ones shrieking and cackling away; 5 girls, what to do?).

It isn’t one of those pish posh wine places where you feel obliged to know french words, swirl your glass and poke your nose in (I hope it wasn’t just us being oblivious to our surroundings!).

Lighting was warm, music was soft and not the thumping sort that drowns out half your conversations. I also like that the tables were a comfortable distance from each other so you are not forced to listen in on other people’s affairs but yet, it wasn’t deathly quiet and you just have a sense of tinkering glasses and light banter in the background.

They have a huge wine list; we got them to recommend and enjoyed our sweet and light Guetztraimer ($42+). We also shared a mixed platter of hams and cheeses ($38+) – the soft cheeses were smelly and yummy!

IMG_5572.JPG Overall, a relaxing place to hang out and gossip chit-chat over wine and small bites. Had a lovely night. Looking for cheese kakis to go back again!

443 Joo Chiat Road
http://www.merchantsofsingapore.com.sg/cellar-doors/#joo-chiat-rd

Braserio

Back from a long hiatus!

We had our monthly girls’ night at Braserio, a new grill place along Joo Chiat (near Scanteak, for those familiar with the area). The place was totally empty when we got there at 7:20pm which got me slightly worried. They did fill up later in the evening (maybe we were just the uncool early birds).

IMG_5566.JPG They put us on the second floor, and whilst the exclusivity of having the whole floor to ourselves was entertaining for a bit, it got little difficult to get prompt service with the servers stationed downstairs. Our server was a young, earnest and shy boy who tried very hard so we played nice.

The menu went easy on brain cells. For $19,90++, you choose from beef steak, beef skewers, roast chicken or the monthly specials (prawns for this month) and it comes with free flow of fries and salad. Both A and C commented separately that it should be the other way around – greedy buggers.

There are also a few appetisers and desserts but none too compelling. For alkies, you may want to try their speciality Caipirinha, Brazil’s national cocktail of sugar cane hard liquor, sugar and lime.

The flavour of the night was beef steak, medium rare. The steak was juicy and tender, but perhaps underdone (almost raw) at parts. A liked it but I thought it was too barbaric for me. Can’t ask for too much at this price point – so won’t comment on marbling but there were enough fatty bits to make one happy.

IMG_5569.JPG The fries were literally cut potato sticks. Very rustic; I like the pieces with the skin still on – I guess they were crispier. Somehow fries done this way are not as addictive; we didn’t need refills. The salad was lettuce and tomatoes tossed together, also no refills required.

IMG_5568.JPG The meal came with their 3 house-special sauces – BBQ, Mango and Mustard. I like the mustard best – sourish and slightly spicy; adds punch to the fries and meat.

IMG_5567.JPG This may sound a little harsh, but my honest opinion is that I am not too sure where this may fit in with the competitive F&B scene. It does not have the warm Latino overdose-on-meats vibes of a Brazillian Churrascaria nor the all-too-popular industrial-chic hippy set-up. It felt a little more like Grill meets Ikea. Whilst the meat was good and price reasonable, there are just too many options out there and nothing too unique to draw me back.

333 Joo Chiat Road
Open 6-11pm
Braseiro Restaurant Singapore

May May

Should have blogged earlier and opened with “MAY the HUAT be with you”, but anyhow, still HUAT ya?

MissY is always game to try new places so we headed to May May, one of the new(er) kids on Tras Street, for our post-CNY-break lunch.

They serve rice bowls ($12-$18) for lunch; as everything sounded quite yummy, we asked for recommendations. The server was very enthusiastic, friendly and prompt so we cut her some slack when she recommended “beef rending (if you eat beef), braised pork belly (also good), grilled miso aubergine (if you are vegetarian), butter poached cod (popular) or red chilli chicken” which is actually everything on the menu (but I guess the order counts). You can add $3 to upgrade to a combo with salad and drink (soft drink or any tea/coffee). For health-conscious peeps, there is an option of quinoa (+$2) for selected bowls.

After considering our food restrictions/preferences, we decided to share the red chilli chicken and braised pork belly rice bowls.

IMG_3580.JPG The bowls all come with a whole industry of sides. I generally like variety in taste/textures in my food but I did feel a little overwhelmed. Don’t get me wrong, it was tasty and interesting but you can’t quite get everything in one mouthful and I’m not sure I could say that all the flavours came together nicely! I ended up eating it sushi-style – a dollop of rice, with small chunk of meat and whatever little sprout, root or fungus I could balance.

Braised Pork Belly
IMG_3577.JPG Ooooooh…. the pork was soooo gooood but oh, so sinful. It was fatty and oily and the meat soft and tender. I can almost sense it wobbling in this photo. Thank goodness we shared and even then, I tried not to eat up my half to save my heart. But life is short, try it!

Red Chilli Chicken
IMG_3578.JPG The chicken came hot – skin crispy and meat nicely flavoured and tender. Eat it up fast as they aren’t so yummy when cold (and slightly soggy). Don’t be too frightened by its name – it wasn’t quite fiery.

Overall, a place to head to for a filling and satisfying rice bowl.
IMG_3574.JPG 65 Tras St
Open Mon-Sat 11am-11pm
https://www.facebook.com/maymaydining

Koji

I was meeting C for lunch and she suggested Koji though she was there just the day before! I figured it must be that good and I will never say “no” to Japanese food so off we went.

We both had the sashimi bowl ($17), although I must say the other rice bowls (salmon avocado, tuna tartare, pork cheek) also called out.

And it was EXCELLENT indeed! There were very generous chunks of sashimi; what sets it apart is that it also has a mix of tempura batter bits, jellyfish, ikura, tobiko (or maybe ebiko) and minced tuna on top, with a couple of sprouts and slices of cucumber. Each mouthful was a riot – the soft chewy sashimi with the taste of the sea, further enhanced by the umami bursts of the ikura/tobiko and the cool jello crunch of jellyfish, plus the crunch of the fried bits and the buttery smear of the tuna. Sublime! It was also not too salty as compared to other chirashi-dons I have had. IMG_2795.JPG IMG_2796.JPG You can choose from white or brown rice and also opt for a top-up of uni ($8). The rice bowl comes with complimentary miso soup and a salad. I also like it that other than the usual green tea, they also serve yuzu tea ($3) which was fruity and light (not too sour, not too sweet). IMG_2793.JPG Koji is a small space and I suspect Qs will form once word of this new set-up spreads so check it out before it gets too crowded. Super highly recommended! IMG_2789.JPG #01-42 Nankin Row 3 Pickering Street
Open Mon-Sat 11:30am-3pm / 5-10pm

Teppei

After many failed attempts at getting last minute cancellations seats for their dinner omakase, R and I plonked ourselves in front of the computer and various gadgets at 12:58pm on a Sat to ensure we got in first when Teppei released the online link for their trial phone booking system at 1pm. And success!

I tried to adjust my already sky rocket (and probably impossible to meet) expectations from all the past efforts and anticipation. Friends also tampered my expectations by warning me that (i) not all items are top-notch but it is value for money; (ii) it is very cramped; (iii) it is quite fast paced/rushed; (iv) the place is very warm… and I was beginning to question why we even took all that trouble. (Post meal verification – (i)/(ii): true, (iii) fast paced, yes; but I didn’t feel rushed (and could still take all the photos I wanted); (iv) it is cooler after their recent renos.)

There are only 22 counter seats in Teppei with 2 seatings at 6:30pm and 8:30pm. It is by reservation only and usually fully booked months in advance, but you can try your luck as they do release seats from last minute cancellations on their facebook page. Dinner is omakase only, with 2 price points ($60/$80) to choose from. The $80 menu gives you higher grade beef (Saga) and sashimi. Their menu changes from time to time.

It was a little chaotic waiting to go in and it is indeed a super tight squeeze inside.

IMG_1211.JPG Once the food starting coming (22 items in total), I quite enjoyed myself! I will let the photos do the talking first:

IMG_1266-0.JPGIMG_1268-0.JPGIMG_1269-0.JPGIMG_1270-0.JPGIMG_1271-0.JPGIMG_1273-0.JPGIMG_1274-0.JPGIMG_1275-0.JPGIMG_1276.JPGIMG_1278.JPGIMG_1279.JPGIMG_1298.JPGIMG_1281.JPGIMG_1282.JPGIMG_1283.JPGIMG_1284.JPGIMG_1285.JPGIMG_1286.JPGIMG_1287.JPGIMG_1288.JPG Choice of mains – sashimi rice, fried garlic rice, hot soba or cold soba. I thought the choice was pretty obvious.

IMG_1289.JPG You also have a choice of ice cream flavours.

IMG_1290.JPG My top 3:
– sashimi rice – what can I say? Morsels of goodness!
– crispy skin salmon – surprise surprise! I never thought this day would come; I never ever like cooked salmon. The skin was crisp almost like a cracker, flesh firm but soft, fish oils oozing, and absolutely not fishy at all.
– aburi toro sushi – fatty oily toro with a hint of roasted flavour, mmmm….

I also really liked the random bits in between – popcorn, gingko, grasshopper, puffer fish skin, which added to the variety, playfulness and character of the meal.

As if to illustrate that food really speaks differently to everyone, R’s favourites were different! He picked the sashimi rice, foie gras and monkfish liver.

My least favourite 3:
– saga beef – also surprising. I wasn’t too impressed. It was lukewarm when it got to me, the meat was limp and the sweet marinade was overpowering.
– fish soup – this was the only item I didn’t finish of the 22 items. The soup was sweet and flavourful but I just couldn’t stomach another huge chunk of fish, after the salmon and the cod.
– salted caramel ice cream – this was too sweet and hardly salted.

Overall, good value for money for an omakase dinner. Just don’t expect classy and zen settings, spacious surroundings and a leisurely time. Expect to be bombarded by swift servings of varied and decent quality dishes. Good fun!

IMG_1222.JPG Open (Dinner): 6:30pm/8:30pm (by reservations only)
https://facebook.com/teppeirestaurant?_rdr

Rhubarb Le Restaurant

After a spiffy lunch time-out, the gang was back in full force to also celebrate L’s birthday at Rhubarb.

Given the fussy eaters amongst us, there were a lot of questions to sort out before we got down to ordering from the 3-course set lunch menu ($42++) – what is “veloute”? is the soup a red meat based broth? which two ways are the quail done?

We were impressed from the word “go”, or rather, right from the amuse bouche. It was ocean trout with rhubarb sauce in a charcoal cone, topped with tobiko. Lovely presentation. The sourish sauce complemented the seafood flavours well. The softness of the fish, with the hardy cone and bursts of rubbery tobiko was a good play on texture.

IMG_1188.JPGStarters

White onion veloute

IMG_1185.JPG Translation: white onion thickened soup. I stretched to reach S’ soup from across the round table (very unglam, but sacrifices are needed for this review). It was creamy and sweet, thick like a potato soup, but nothing too fancy.

Pork & pistachio ballotine

IMG_1190.JPG Translation: Cold pork roll with pistachio nuts. I didn’t quite like it texture-wise – slightly dry and flaky. Taste-wise, it was briney and tasted so-so with the sour gherkin.

Salad of Little Gem “Achoiade”

IMG_1202.JPG This was N’s healthy choice, as the server put it – salad with cheese and anchovies.

(Soup and Salad photos courtesy of N)

Mains

Quail two ways

IMG_1193.JPG Two ways – breast meat “plunger” style (I swear I heard “plunger” but now I can’t be sure but it was seared and transferred to the oven to bake) and drumstick confit style. The quail was excellent! Would rank as one of the best quail dishes I have had; the meat held together well and was very tender and succulent. Even S and J (who are not fans of meat) liked it!

After the lesson on “veloute”, we had lesson #2 on that green layered vegetable in this dish – (huge) spring onion and leek were tossed up. But after checking against the menu, “endive” was the only item we couldn’t place. This led to frantic googling amongst the group (nerds, I tell you) and somehow all sorts of images came up! So it seems there is a whole family of various sorts, but yes, it is an endive.

Lamp rump

IMG_1194.JPG Z ordered this medium, the recommended style, and it was superb. Soft, tender, and dripping with iron juices, without being gamey. Z had high praise for the accompanying bombay onion too. It is a tough fight between the quail and lamb for best mains for the day.

Norwegian ocean trout

IMG_1191.JPG I thought this was pretty, with blushes of yellow, pink and green peeking out from under the white foam. Really wasn’t in the mood for fish so here is S’ review: not bad, but maybe very slightly overcooked, could have been tenderer.

Desserts

Chocolate and cream cheese mousse

IMG_1195.JPG A few of us ordered this and I was the last to be served. This meant I observed this plating from different angles and … I’m sure it is not just me… but never mind… let’s focus on the taste. 😉 The chocolate mousse was extra rich and creamy (I guess from the cheese); it was not overly sweet but was a tad hard and quite difficult to scoop with a spoon. The biscuit bits added crunch and brandied cherries are always well appreciated.

Pistachio meringue, bergamot curd and vanilla ice cream

IMG_1197.JPG The various flavours came together nicely and made for a light and refreshing dessert.

(They also had a choice of sorbets and fruits which none of us picked given the other exciting options.)

Overall, interesting and well-executed dishes. Service was slow (could be initial kinks). Pretty posh ambience, without coming across as trying too hard or making one feel out of place. I would return for a special occasion.

IMG_1183.JPG 3 Duxton Hill
Open (Mon-Fri) 12nn-3pm; 7-10.30pm / (Sat) 7-10.30pm
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Rhubarb-Le-Restaurant/1505748192995678