Monday, February 25, 2013

Food Tasting at Ambush @ Plaza Singapura, Singapore

It was indeed an honour to be invited by online dining guide, Openrice.com for a food tasting session at Ambush, Plaza Singapura. Perhaps you might have seen the grafitti-styled logo, paired with a couple of tomatoes elsewhere, it is because they have offered diners a convenient and casual European fix at other major shopping malls - Junction8, Jurong Point, Ngee Ann City and Jurong's new Jem (Opening in April 2013) as well.

What's on the food tasting menu?
 
Negra paella (S$14.50) rises up as one of my Ambush favourites, the reason for my love towards this Valencian classic is simple - the rice was sticky enough, flavours were robust and I liked how the bright orange roes contributed an additional crunch to the overall texture. Just like any squid ink dishes, make sure you have checked your teeth before grinning!

 
Roasted Pork Knuckle (S$28.00 for whole) impressed me with its perfect crispy skin, yet the juicy tenderness of the meat was sufficiently retained. You could have seen how good this was when it disappeared off the table after a few minutes. The sauerkraut and mashed potato that comes along with the pork knuckle was nothing to rave about, but I do strongly recommend to savour the pieces of meat by pairing it with the gravy sauce.


Huge? Definitely. Juicy? Yup. Flavorful? Checked. Mussel Pot Large (S$17.60) is something not to be missed. We had them doned in Aglio Olio style - semi-sweet, which is so full on sauteed onions and garlicky flavour, and classic Vin Blanc - aromatic with white wine. Both, which proved to be too good to compare against each other.


Decorated with home-made tomato and orange sauce, while the Duck confit (S$18.00) sits comfortabley on a bed of mashed potatoes. It actually looks better than it tasted. It was well-seasoned and marinated, but a tad dry for my liking.


Crispy Chicken and Seaweed Pasta (S$13.00) was what I have chosen for my main course. The pasta itself was cooked slightly less than the al-dente standard, while the crispy chicken reminds me of KFC's popcorn chicken. Although this dish was an interesting fusion of Asian and Western, it was not exactly a winner for my palate.

 
All in all, I thought that the starters/appetizers fared better than the main courses. But hey, guess what, "everyone gets a little taste of Europe", Ambush is a great option for a simple gathering over a wide variety of European dishes.
 
Once again, thank you to Openrice and Ambush for organizing this food tasting session. Well, if you haven't realized, Openrice actually meant - 开饭 lo! Here's a group picture of fellow food enthuiasts along with the organizer!


A big thank you to this pretty lady - Estelle, who invited me for this food tasting session!


Here's the talented author/ food blogger from 365days2play with me! Do drop by her site (link under Bloroll) as well!


Check out my (awkward) appearance on OpenRice TV here:





Ambush

Tel: 6338 9368



Opening Hours

Mon - Sun: 11:00 - 22:30

68 Orchard Road
#04-64/66
Plaza Singapura,

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Recipe: Spanish Tortilla

Spanish Tortilla, or Tortilla de patatas in Spanish, is the most common speciality you would find in the streets of Spain. Although usually made with eggs, potatos and onions, there are in fact more than a hundred variations of it. Anyway, have a taste of Spain in your very own kitchen, this recipe is fun, easy-to-do and most importantly - a real gastronomic treat for your stomach!
 

Difficulty: Easy

Makes 1 8-in tortilla

Ingredients

2 regular sized potatos, peeled and thinly sliced
4 eggs
1/2 - 1 onion (depending on your liking), chopped
Olive oil

Pepper and salt, for seasoning
Parsley flakes

Steps

1. In a medium-sized pan (8-in), heat up 5 tbsp of olive oil over medium flame, add the onion and cook gently until soft and slightly browned.

2. Add in the potato slices and spread evenly. Season with a pinch of pepper and salt. Cook the potato slices until they breaks easily when poked with the spatula.

3. Remove the onion and potato slices from pan. Drain the oil.

4. In a large mixing bowl, crack the eggs and beat it with a whisk or fork. Season with a pinch of pepper and salt. Add in the onion and potato slices. Mix evenly with a large spoon.

5. Heat up 2 tbsp of olive oil in the pan over small flame, then add in the potato mixture.

6. Cook until it comes away from the edge of the pan, and looks about two thirds set.

7. Place a large plate, or saucepan lid over the frying pan and invert it, so the tortilla falls on the plate/lid. Slide it back into the frying pan, tipping any liquid egg in it.

8. Using a spatula, shape the tortilla by pushing the edges inwards. Cook until it is springy to touch.

9. Garnish with parsley flakes. Slice it to prefered size and serve warm/cold.

Tips

1. Try other variations by adding green/red peppers, chopped parsley, olives or tomatos.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Hansang Korean Charcoal BBQ @ Holland Village, Singapore

Nestled in one of Singapore's most happening night-spots, the multi-level Hansang's layout was a fusion of Western and native Korean, equipped with a sleek series of wooden furnitures and inviting ambience lights, with the real barbeque actions cooking up at the second storey.
 
Anyone who knows me, knows that I love pork belly meat, despite all the high fats content and health risks and what's not, I mean, come on, life's too short not to enjoy. By that, self-control is definitely recommended when in Hansang, with all the high-grade wagyu beefs and pork slices, one would find it hard, but salivate constantly.
 
Well, it's not wrong to pamper your taste buds with some Samgyupsal (S$25.00) once a while. These lightly seasoned pork belly slices sizzle at the touch of the grill. There are probably a hundred and one ways to savour the meat, but my prefered way of eating is none other than wrapping one or two slices with some garlic in the crispy lettuce, dipped it into chilli sauce and pop them into the mouth!

 
If you are looking for something more fulfilling, why not try their classic Bibimbab (S$18.00), which consists of generous portions of meat slices, mushrooms and assorted vegetables, not forgetting the glorious egg. Jumble them up with your prefered sauce and you're good to go. Nothing special though.
 

A good bowl of beef stew is set to warm one's body during the cold season. Although not usually the case in all-year-summer Singapore, beef stew with savoury broth and heaps of japchae (glass noodle) is still one of my favourite dishes when it comes to Korean cuisine.

 
Smoke might be difficult to avoid as Hansang is not equipped with retractable pipes that suck in the barbeque smoke, prices are quite steep (spent about $50 per pax), other than that, Hansang is a good place to go if you're craving quality korean barbeque in a relaxing environment.




Hansang Korean Charcoal BBQ

Tel: 66816632

Opening Hours
Mon - Sun: 11:30 - 14:30
Mon - Sun: 17:30 - 22:00

20 Lorong Mambong
Holland Village

Monday, February 18, 2013

District 10 Bar Tapas Restaurant @ The Star Vista, Singapore

To be honest, thinking about what's for dinner on Valentine's day is quite a fortunate pain in the ass, unless settling for a romantic candlelight, home-cooked dinner at home. I am pretty sure that most couples, especially the male counterpart would nod profusely to this statement, and I did mention "fortunate" as you know, we should give thanks for our significant other.

District 10 Bar Tapas Restaurant, located at The Star Vista, was chosen as the venue for our Valentine's day dinner. The newly opened branch became the latest addition to the Bonta Group of Restaurants, offering an inviting haven for people from all walks of life to chill out amidst their relaxing and laid-back atmosphere. Interesting enough, I found out that there is a "Smash your Stress" booth to vent your frustrations by smashing your glass bottles on an iPad with your nemesis's face on it. But since it's Valentine's day, I decided to show mercy and let girlfriend off (nah, just kidding.)


District 10 had a Valentine's day promotion (which lasted till 17 Feb), but we chose to try out the other ala-carte food items instead. Duck and Mango Salad (S$16.00) proved to be an worthy appetizer, with shredded duck, diced mangoes and walnut bits scattered on the heap of greens. Personally, I love how walnuts bring life out of the fresh greens. Oh, if you're looking for something lighter, District 10 Salad might be the choice for ya.


Small bites are something not to be missed at District 10. With a wide variety of more than 30 of tapas and pinchos, one might just get a migraine from choosing what your belly could fit in. If you are wondering why the name "pinchos" (which meant spike in Spanish), it actually meant tapas (snack in Spanish) that is skewered with a piece of bread, typically by using a toothpick, and paired with a glass of icy cold beer Interesting eh?

Aside from their signature spiked meat-on-a-bread, we had Sauteed Garlic Prawns with Olive Oil (S$12.00) - a delightful bar snack, which consisted of succulent prawns drenched in an abundance of garlicky flavor. Oh, what more can I asked for?


The menu offers a variety of traditional dishes, namely "Pizza with Portobello Mushroom and White Truffle Oil" and "Jumbo Crab Meat Linguine", as well as creative fusions, like the Wagyu Beef Cheek Rendang Pizza (S$28.00). The combination of braised Indonesian beef rendang together with the Italian staple was unique, amazing and definitely a winner. If only there were more garnishes or perhaps, rendang sauce spread across the whole pizza. Yum.


Complete the dinner with Warm Chocolate Cake (S$14.00) with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Sadly, it was not oozing with molten chocolate, but it was still soft-centered with a slightly hardened crust. Despite so, the price for the dessert was rather steep.


Service-wise could be beefed up a few levels, as they were pretty unresponsive and slow, however District 10 Bar Tapas Restaurant left us with an overall good impression. Would definitely visit again when I have the chance.




District 10 Bar Tapas Restaurant

Tel: +65 6694 2884

Opening Hours 
11:30am – 3pm, 6pm-11pm (Mon-Thurs), 
11:30am-3pm, 6pm-1am (Fri), 
11am-3pm, 6pm-1am (Sat), 
11am-6pm, 6pm-11pm (Sun) 

1 Vista Exchange Green, 
#01-42/K3
The Star Vista 

Friday, February 15, 2013

Ajisen Gourmet Town - Botejyu @ Serangoon Nex, Singapore

Recently, I found out through their corporate website that "Botejyu" is not an actual Japanese word. Like the "clinks and clanks" that pots and pans made, or the stereotypical "ching chong chang" of Chinese, the word "Botejyu" is veritably derived from the rhythmic sound of okonomiyaki cooking. "Bote" being the flipping sound of the okonomiyaki using a metal spatula, and the late part - "jyu" comes from the sizzling sound on the teppan grill. It is amazing (with slight amusement) how the Japanese linked the sounds together.
 
Talking about okonomiyaki - the oh-so-good savoury pancake packed with a variety of ingredients, there is no place other than Botejyu if you are looking for good, yet affordable "onokoyamiki" (oh damn, it's so difficult to pronounce.) Established in 1946 in the gourmet city of Tamade, Osaka, Botejyu promises to deliver their dishes, in particular, their okonomiyaki with such care and passion.
 
Most of their set meals consist of a okonomiyaki, along with side dishes and a bowl of Japanese rice. The decorated okonomiyaki - pancake version of takoyaki (in my opinoion) is with no doubt of a certain standard, but ingredients-wise, I thought that they could be more generous. My prefered okonomiyaki comes with fragrant bonito flakes and a sunny side-up.
 

Side dishes were nothing spectacular, but I would definitely recommend Yaki Soba instead of clams, as they weren't that fresh. The total came about approximately S$48 for 3 set meals, with different side dishes. In a nutshell, Botejyu is good to try out, especially the must-try okonomiyaki, other than it's up to one's palate whether they liked it or not.




Ajisen Gourmet Town - Botejyu

Tel: 66347628

Opening Hours
Daily: 11:30 - 22:00

23 Serangoon Central
#03-06/07
Nex

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Valentine's Day!

Real roses are not eco-friendly and too expensive. Here's my miniature version of a bouquet of roses (learnt it off Youtube tutorials), which is made out of coloured scrap paper within an hour. Wallet-friendly, yet not a single less drop of love.
 

Be it if you are single, attached or married, here am I wishing my readers an enjoyable Valentine's Day! It's a time of giving and joy, so spread your love! :]

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Boon Lay Raja Restaurant @ Jurong East Central, Singapore

Amidst all the blessings and well-wishes while tossing the Prosperity Toss, or better known as 鱼生 (yu sheng) and Lo Hei, our "HUAT AH" probably came out the loudest. It was noisy and rowdy, not to even mention - messy, with bits and pieces of the rainbow-colored dish flying all over the place. But again, that was exactly what the Chinese New Year atmosphere is supposed to be.

My paternal grandma's birthday was usually held right here in this particular restaurant, but somehow this year, we had it in Moi Lum Restaurant which was located at Maxwell Road. Hence, I thought fate brought me to Boon Lay Raja Restaurant once again, when my maternal relatives selected this place for our New Year's lunch during 初一 (beginning of the year).


Established in 1979 at Boon Lay Shopping Centre, they had since moved to Jurong East Central (beside Jcube) for better convenience and to accomodate the large dinner crowds. With an extensive menu of dim sum and Cantonese cuisine, they also specialize in seafood dishes, especially shark fin's soup which is proudly presented on their signboard.

Another favourite of mine is the Crispy Roasted Chicken, which was lightly salted just enough to enhance its taste and flavour. Unlike most roasted chicken which happened to be tough and dry, their rendition was juicy and had retained the smooth texture. If you happened to drop-by during this festive season, do try out their unique creation of fried prawns and strawberry sauce.


Besides your usual weekend dinner, Boon Lay Raja is also catered for a range of functions, such as buffet caterings, wedding banquets and functions. In addition, the dishes that they present certainly appeals to the elderly, not less the younger generations though.




Boon Lay Raja Restaurant

Tel: 6563 6643
Opening Hours
Daily: 11:30 - 14:30, 16:00 - 22:30

Blk 135 Jurong Gateway Road
#02-337

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Recipe: Easy Pancakes

Nothing beats waking up late and having breakfast in the comfort of their own bed on a lazy weekend. Well, but someone got to make things happen. Breakfast in bed is not just going to appear with a snap of your finger (unless you got a maid, or butler). Lucky for the one who is still cuddling amongst the blankets, while someone had to set the alarm a little earlier and slog it out on the kitchen tables.
 
Drizzled with maple syrup and melted butter, pancakes are an ideal choice for breakfast in bed or brunch, as it is also fuss-free and simple to make. And to make things even simpler, this recipe that I chanced upon recently while searching for various pancakes recipes, requires only 3 basic ingredients to make. The end result? Light and fluffy pancakes that took little effort and time, BUT no less the love. To complete the brunch, I added a slice of briefly fried breakfast ham and topped it up with some lovely scrambled eggs.
 

Difficulty: Easy

Makes 5 regular-sized pancakes

Ingredients

1 cup self-raising flour
1 cup milk
1 egg

Butter or oil for greasing

Steps

1. Preheat a large non-stick frying pan.

2. In a large bowl, beat the milk and egg lightly together.

3. Add in the self-raising flour. Stir until just combined.

3. Lightly grease the frying pan.

5. Cook large spoonfuls of batter until bubbly and the edges go dry.

6. Turn and brown the other side.

Tips

1. Complete the dish with bacons, eggs or sausages for a fulfilling breakfast/brunch, or topped it up with a scoop of your favourite ice cream and chocolate sauce for late afternoon snacks.

View Original Recipe here.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Le Le Pot 乐乐锅 @ Tiong Bahru, Singapore

For steamboat-idiots like me, the only place I could think of when it comes to having a good hot pot buffet, is Bugis (well, besides the recent Suki-Ya). Hence, it was an eye-opener, or rather, finding another hidden treasure, when girlfriend's mum, Amy suggested that we have an early re-union dinner at Le Le Pot 乐乐锅.

Located just a bus stop away, or a short walk from the bustling Tiong Bahru Plaza, Le Le Pot is an ideal choice for people looking for an affordable, yet homely and fuss-free steamboat buffet. The restaurant, opened by a part-time Mediacorp artiste, provides a wide variety of steamboat dishes, as well as home-made ones such as fried wanton, steamed dumplings and cheese fries. The deep fried buns (man tou) were a winner for all of us, as we found ourselves ordering plates and plates of that petite goodness. Other favourites include sotong balls and thin-cut beef, dipped into their various dipping sauce.

Diners can also opt to order salmon sashimi, prime beef and other exclusive "star dishes" on top of the included ones, for an additional fee, oh, desserts and drinks too. Well, of course, the best things in life are never free.
 

The thing I liked most about Le Le Pot is that unlike the usual buffet style restaurants, they do not display their dishes out-front, instead you order what you want on a piece of menu, and the service staff serves the dishes fresh from the kitchen. So you would not have to worry about pesky flies sticking their mouths on your meat or whatever, in fact, there was not a single fly in sight when I was there. That's how clean it was.

Overall, service was good, with the artiste himself helping out as well. It was weekend rush-hour at that time, but I could say that the service staff handled it well.

All in all, the buffet costs $21.80 nett (weekend), exclusive of desserts, drinks and any other additional priced items. Decent for my palate, while girlfriend thought that the Bugis's outlets are better as there were more varieties of seafood.




Le Le Pot

Tel: 6222 9442

Opening Hours
Lunch (11am – 3pm) 
Dinner (5pm – 11pm)

Blk 58 Seng Poh Road
#01-23