Category Archives: Tanjong Pagar

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

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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

Souper Sarnies

Z and I had an impromptu lunch date. We sorta had somewhere in mind but ended up strolling past Souper Sarnies and giving it a shot cos’ Z thought the place “looks cute”.

We shared 2 sandwiches, and topped up to add a salad/soup for $3. The sandwiches are all freshly prepared upon your order so there may a slight wait.

We both had the mushroom soup which came piping hot, just the way I like my food. It is different from the usual creamy mushroom soup – it was lighter, earthy and slightly herby (which also translates to: a blander, less creamy mix).

20140918-223329-81209363.jpg Eggplosion – toasted sourdough with truffle oil egg mayo ($8.90) 20140918-223629-81389219.jpg Sorry for the bleah photo – I tried to separate the slices to feature the egg mayo but the gooey mixture wasn’t too co-operative. The truffle egg mayo was flavourful – pity that it was quite a stingy spread and you don’t taste much of it. Z actually lifted her bread at one point to check if she was missing something. I also found the bread too crisp for my liking and it was a little grating on the palette.

Chicken Avo – toasted panini with chicken mayo and avocado ($9.90)
20140918-224426-81866236.jpg Again, I found the bread overly toasted. There was more in this sandwich – lightly salted chicken chunks with mayo and avocado but I would definitely have preferred more avocado, much much more.

I somehow feel that this cafe has the potential to do better. It is a cool unpretentious little sandwich joint but I personally think they need to refine the bread toasting bit and be far more generous with their ingredients.

20140918-233246-84766377.jpg 20140918-233247-84767510.jpg 1 Tras Link #01-07 Orchid Hotel
Open 8:30am-9pm (except Sun)

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/

Buttero

Credit to L – the restaurant for our Spiffy Lunch this month was so new that there weren’t any blog reviews up yet!

L, Z and I shared 3 pastas.

Pappardelle with lamb ($22)

20140511-161612.jpg This was their off-menu special. An interesting combi of tomato, black olives, barley and lamb. Caution though that it has a very strong lamb taste/smell that may not be for everyone.

Pappardelle with spanner crab ($25)

20140511-161711.jpg This was recommended in their write-up in the papers. I saw it as “snapper” crab and wondered what the heck that was until S set me straight. It was a light pasta; the tomato base was not too thick/sour.

Black pasta with chopped prawns, mussels, cuttlefish and chilli ($24)

20140511-161810.jpg L actually ordered it for himself, but when the server mentioned that this was the best amongst the pastas, I unashamedly dictated that we were sharing; poor L. We totally agreed with the recommendation and this was our favourite! It was flavourful, briny, with the taste of the sea and a slight hint of red chilli spiciness.

N bucked the pasta trend and ordered a lamb sandwich ($16). It was nicely presented; he finished it all but did comment that his jaw was aching from the chewy bread and meat.

20140511-162457.jpg To round off the meal, we ordered 3 desserts ($12 each) to share.

Canoli

20140511-161917.jpg Light vanilla cream within a crusty shield. We easily finished it all.

Vanilla panna cotta

20140511-162022.jpg The consensus was that the panna cotta was too dense texturally, though it was light on taste. It wasn’t enjoyable enough to finish.

Banoffee pie

20140511-162132.jpg This dessert was super sweet! You dig your spoon in and no matter what you fished out… toffee, banana, mascapone cheese… it was just a mouthful of overwhelming sweetness. Not for the diabetic.

Overall, a non-snobbish and cool Italian place with great pastas (though the portions are quite small). Another gem along Tras Street.

20140511-162218.jpg 54 Tras Street
Open (tba)

Keisuke Gyoza King

I had an impromptu dinner date with L and with S’ recommendation in mind, we headed to Gyoza King.

We were pleasantly surprised by the lack of a queue when we arrived. The restaurant is a tight space with only 16 counter seats and we hear that the queues can get quite long.

It is a great value-for-money meal! For $13.80++, you get rice, soup (vegetable/miso), 5 gyozas (pork/chicken/prawn) and 2 side dishes (from a choice of 8). In line with the Keisuke name, you order by ticking your choices on a chit; very efficient.

Whilst waiting for your orders, you can help yourself to the pickled cabbage and marinated beansprouts. (For protein buffs, sorry, no free flow eggs here). We were also kept entertained by the cute Japanese manager who was trying her best (with her limited English vocab) to teach us to mix our own gyoza sauce – soy sauce, vinegar and chilli oil in the ratio 3:2:1. Chilli-crazy L obviously inverted the ratio.

20140422-120027.jpg L and I shared our meals so we could try more stuff. We had the pork and prawn gyozas – served hot; slightly crispy skin with juicy meats within – thumbs up. For sides, we chose (i) deep fried chicken with spicy sauce and mixed sesame, (ii) chicken nanban with tartar sauce, (iii) stir fried egg with chinese chives and (iv) deep fried tofu with minced pork gravy. Frankly, these are not very complex dishes and it’s probably something you can whip up at home; but it is great to have someone do it for you and have the variety for an eat-out dinner at an affordable price.

20140422-120121.jpg Orchid Hotel, 1 Tras Street #01-15
Open 11:30am-2:30pm/6-10:30pm

Salta

For one of our monthly girly night outs, C had a list of steak places and J found a superb deal on http://www.deal.com for Salta, an Argentine grill, and off we went for a 3-course $35++ meal.

Appetizer

“24 months” aged Jamon Iberico Ham Salad with Holland Vine Tomato, Mesclun Salad & Green Olives

20140417-144129.jpg The salad came together very well – chewy and salty ham with sweet tomatoes and crunchy greens, laced with balsamic vinegar.

Beef Empanadas with Lentil Portage, Sun Dried Tomato & Arugula Leaves

20140417-144808.jpg In short: beef curry pok.

Side Order
20140417-145237.jpg We shared a side order of the sweet corn cake ($14++). I was expecting something similar to the Kenny Rogers’ corn muffin but it was more interesting than that! It was served warm; crumbly (like a cake), sweetish (from the corn) but slightly cheesy/creamy at parts. The parmesan custard served on the side was like a panna cotta, but in cheese form. Worth a try!

Mains

280G Charcoal Grilled Grass Fed Rib-eye Steak with Grilled Vegetables, Pink Chat Potatoes & Salsa Verde

20140417-145416.jpg It was a thick chunk of meat, very generous given the price; and it was meaty and juicy, though not super tender. I found my steak to be underdone for a medium order and it was only when A commented on a bloody piece I couldn’t bring myself to finish did we realize that they got our orders mixed up! So there was C struggling with my order whilst I was avoiding the pools of blood in hers. Not too impressed with the service at this point – the servers really ought to have checked but I guessed we could each have spoken up sooner as well.

Desserts

Minty Cantaloupe Gazpacho with wild berries & raspberry sorbet

20140417-145837.jpg This was an interesting dessert with the little bits of fruits in the sweet cantaloupe puree contrasting with the sour raspberry sorbet. I didn’t finish it cos’ it was too sour for me but nonetheless, quite a refreshing dessert after a hearty meaty meal.

Overall, an average steakhouse.

12 Gopeng Road, Icon Village #01-56
Open Mon-Sat 12nn-2:30pm/6-10:30pm
http://www.saltaparrilla.com.sg/