Most of February eating was very hum-drum. But I managed to avoid the usual haunts like Cedele and Crystal Jade, ya I surprise myself with my adventurous spirit sometimes.
Royal China (1/2): Whadayaknow a TV crew was filming in the restaurant the Sunday afternoon we chose to eat there. Diana Ser was interviewing the owner Jessie. Now if I were an excitable guy I would probably get excited about seing Diana but I am neither excitable nor a guy, so, we were only a tiny bit excited.
How do I know the owner is Jessie? Because the TV crew needed to film her talking to a regular customer. They chose me to be the pretend regular customer because I appeared pak-pak-cheng-cheng (fair-complexioned and decent in appearance, their words not mine), thus I was introduced to the owner. Did anyone see me on Channelnewsasia on 17 Feb 05? I don't know which programme, or whether I was even in it, most likely not, otherwise someone would have told me about it. True incident though.
Hoshigaoka (1/1): At Bugis Junction. There were once three Japanese dining options at BJ- Hoshigaoka, Hisatomo and Sushi Sagano. That pseudo-frenchy place does not count. Sushi Sagano was my favourite because Eric the sushi chef was always nice to me and my girlfriends and he had exacting standards on sushi-making. Hisatomo was the office favourite for the 'family style' Japanese food and I particularly liked any of their set meals which included Tuna Sandwich, because they toasted the buns first.
Now, Hoshigaoka, none of us really expected it to outlast the other two, but strange things do happen and it is now the only one standing. And it being my first day at my new work place and my supervisor suggesting that we eat CNY lunch with our (something we have in common) ex-colleagues from our alumni employer.... it's like musical chairs in my industry...of course I said yes. The gathering was extremely pleasant but the food was hopelessly bad.
Olive Bistro at the Nordic Building, IBP (1/1): Famous for their pies, or so they like to think. OK lah. Have to reconcile myself with this place because where I work, the food options are not many. Not many at all.
Soup, United Sq (1/1): Their samsui chicken is ideal for our no-rice dinner. Samsui women came from China, they wore a distinguishing headdress of red fabric, eschewed marriage and earned their own living by working as construction workers - in the very old days before we started importing construction workers from Bangladesh. Now these tough, independent women apparently ate a typical dish of Samsui chicken which is a dish of steamed chicken slathered with a fragrant dip of minced ginger and sesame oil. Soup restaurant will collapse if they ever take this dish off their menu, it is that popular.
Nara, Goldhill Square (1/1): Marui, of the dubious tuna sashimi from Indonesia, is no more, thank goodness. In its place is new and very-eager-to-please Nara. Decorated in stylish black glossy panes and panels-that-light-up-from-below. Cooked food is above average, i.e. better than 'family-style". We would definitely return because this place is conveniently close to our apartment.
The sushi guy is Ben, we recognised because he came from Raku and he remembers me as the uni lady- because if I see that the box of uni at the counter is running low I would ask to "reserve" some.
At the end of the meal, we were asked how was everything. Being polite, I said it was fine. But Ben pressed me further, so I thought I would be honest with him.
umami: The raw oysters were excellent. So was the uni. ...... (pause to find the tactful words) but the maguro was just so-so, fresh, but we couldn't really taste its sweetness and it wasn't that smooth.
Ben: if you wanted really smooth tuna, you could have tried the toro.
umami: (thought bubble: No. No. No. Toro is too easy. I don't want just a piece of fatty fish.) You're probably right. But the maguro we had at Kaisan a few weeks ago were fabulous. Melted in the mouth and the flesh was so sweet, no fibrous feeling at all.
Ben: But I get my supplies from the same supplier.
umami: Hmm, yar, sometimes the fish may vary from day to day. Maybe next time.
Whereas in my head, I was thinking what a silly thing he said. It is not just the supplier. There is the handling, the packing, the storage, the serving temperature, the humidity, the all-important cutting techniques- it is all these, and more, intangible factors that separates the expert from the wannabes.
Don Noodle House, Tanglin Mall (1/1): Because we needed lunch before my quilting class, and I have heard that their tahu telor rocks. They're right, the tahu was more like omelet tofu, very smooth and nicely eggy which made a lovely base for the spicy-sweet sauce and julienned cucumbers.
Whitebait & Kale (1/2): Lovely Sunday brunch with husband, MIL and Mimi. The guy at the front desk used to own two silkies. The Bloody Mary was yummerlicious, so was the fig jam that came with the bread. I stole most of the chips that came with MIL's fish and chips.
Shihlin Taiwan Street Snacks, IMM Building (1/1): People said the chicken cutlets are big and delicious. One afternoon I finished a teleconference and looked around. Everyone had disappeared for lunch. I took a taxi all by myself to the IMM building across the road (I didn't know it was across the road, the road very long and circuitous mah). The ladies at the counter only started to fry my cutlet upon receiving my order, which impressed me somewhat. While waiting for the chicken to be fried, I had a bowl of the oyster meesua- a bowl of noodles in brown goo, but the two small pieces of oyster were surprisingly fresh, and the gravy had an unexpected lightness, all plus points which led me to slurp up the noodles in less than 5 minutes. Then my chicken was cooked, the ladies cut it up and seasoned it with two types of powdered seasoning ( here are some nicer pictures from bobafette81's blog). They didn't think I would finish the chicken by myself so they gave me an extra plastic bag to tar-pow. Erm, I finished the huge bag before I caught the taxi back to the office. There was real chicken inside, albeit pounded thinly, and the salty spicy batter was crispy and addictive especially when it was still hot. I think this chicken cutlet will be the next local food fad, can just imagine the slew of copycat giant chicken cutlets outlets sprouting all over the island three weeks from today.
Must go back to try their pohpiah-like crepe wrapped around a fried egg and pork floss.
Founder Bak Kut Teh, Balestier Road (1/1): The pork rib soup is not the best in town, but good enough. The pork liver can be counted on to be very fresh and cooked just the right side of underdone-ness. What I really like is their tau-kee braised in soya sauce, wet slurpy sheets of beans that reminds me of pasta, but lo-carb of course. And they have outdoor tables so it is a good place to take Mimi along to.
California Bistro, Novena Sq: Neighbour of Spinelli, the only redeeming thing about this place is their outdoor table, i.e. Mimi-friendly. The food is mostly of the "mimimum cooking required" genre, mainly salads and soups made from things in cans.
Uncle Leong Seafood, Ang Mo Kio (1/1): Have not eaten at this place since the last time we visited. Missed the crabs we ate in KL over CNY so this was an acceptable substitute. The signature dish of Golden Sand Crabs were covered with a delicious milky curry sauce that probably counts condensed milk ('milk crab' dishes are very popular right now) as one of its chief ingredients. Unfortunately the meat of the crab clung too stubbornly to the shell for my liking, whether this is due to the country of origin (South Africa) or the time of the month I can't be sure, but struggling to extract the meat marred my enjoyment somewhat.
Lai Heng Noodles, Toa Payoh (1/1): Husband likes this place a lot, and eats it for lunch at least twice a month. They renovated the place but the rain shelter solution does not seem to work. Not a good place to go when it rains.